Lexi Bari, Penn Charter’s freshman number one, lines up the ball for a two-fisted forehand. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Last Friday, the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy girls’ varsity tennis team evened up its record within the Inter-Ac League, knocking off visiting Penn Charter, 5-2.

The PC Quakers prevailed at first singles and fourth doubles, but the host Blue Devils won the five matches in between on the score sheet. They had clinched the match before PC picked up its second win of the day at fourth doubles.

SCH had succumbed to Agnes Irwin a week earlier in its league opener, and had split against a pair of squads from the Friends Schools League. The Blue Devils defeated Westtown School, 4-1, and lost a 3-4 nail-biter at Friends Central that required super tiebreakers to resolve three matches. PC had also lost to Friends Central (1-6), but had prevailed in its Inter-Ac debut against the Academy of Notre Dame, 4-3.

The two teams each have a number of young players in the singles flights. PC freshman number one Lexi Bari, an experienced tournament player, took a 6-4, 6-0 decision over Blue Devils sophomore Whitney Taylor, whose primary sport is squash. Two ninth graders squared off at second singles, and here, visitor Grace Jordan-Weinstein lost 6-2, 6-0 against SCH’s Emma Bradbury, who had been the only Blue Devil to win her match against Agnes Irwin. Jordan-Weinstein’s older brother, Charlie, is a PC senior who plays singles for the Quakers’ boys’ team.

There were also siblings playing for SCH on Friday. Taylor’s sister, Nathalie, is a freshman who just arrived from Norwood-Fontbonne Academy. At third singles, she recorded two 6-0 sets against PC junior Jess Wolfe.

Only two seniors were playing for SCH – co-captains Kellie Graves and Emma Schwenderman. Graves and sophomore partner Cameron Golden won 6-2, 6-0 at first doubles over PC juniors Mikayla Fradin and Liv Schwartz.

Schwenderman was also playing with a 10th grader, Avery Allen, and in the third doubles flight, this duo defeated Quakers junior Maya Check and senior Nieve Kelly, 6-4, 6-2. At second doubles, junior Emma Schotsch and freshman Sofia Foote of the Blue Devils secured a pair of 6-3 sets against visiting senior Sophie Stevens and sophomore Marissa Bruckner.

The fourth doubles match was the only three-setter of the afternoon. After Charter juniors Evie Eisenstein and Sloane Gerstein opened with a 6-1 win, the second set went to SCH senior Meg Franklin and freshman Isabella DeCesare at 6-4. The PC pair prevailed in the third, 7-5, to give their team its second win of the overall match.

SCH’s Ashley Vandegrift is in her ninth season as head coach for the Blue Devils. Phil Stevens had already been piloting the PC boys’ team during the spring season, and has just taken the reins of the girls’ program this fall. Longtime Quakers mentor Rose Weinstein is still courtside at PC, coaching the middle school varsity.

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