by Tom Utescher
The racquetwomen of Penn Charter and Germantown Friends School opened the 2019-20 squash season last Tuesday afternoon, squaring off at PC’s Kline & Specter Squash Center.
GFS senior Erin Schott battled to a five-game decision in the number four spot, but the host Quakers won the other matches to post an 8-1 victory.
PC was piloted by veteran mentor Damon Leedale-Brown, while GFS was seeing its first action under new head coach Bransten Ming. Ming, who hails from San Francisco, graduated from Drexel University last spring after playing number one for the Dragons. As an instructor at Germantown Cricket Club, he works with some PC players as well as his GFS charges.
Both teams have had to restructure the top of their team ladders for the 2019-20 season, since each school graduated a nationally-ranked number one player who is now competing in the Ivy League.
PC junior Amanda Cowhey and GFS sophomore Lindsay Burnham have each moved up from the number two position last year to play in the top spot for their respective teams this season. On Tuesday, Cowhey came on top in their match, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6.
PC has a lot of changes the rest of the way down the ladder. In addition to Ross, four other seniors graduated from the 2018-19 team. Among the girls moving up to varsity are seventh-grade twins Sam and Alex Jaffe.
At number two, Sam Jaffe defeated GFS senior Katie Benoliel, 11-3, 11-2, 11-2. In the third position, Alex Jaffe opened with an 11-4 win, but the second game ended in a 12-10 victory for Tigers eighth grader Helena Fournaris. She’s the sister of the number one player on the GFS boys’ team, senior Tommy Fournaris. Alex Jaffe came back to take the match by winning the next two games, 11-2, 11-5.
PC’s Cowhey and GFS’ Benoliel are both co-captains for their teams, and the other captains for the two schools faced one another in the number four match. Here, Quakers junior Nezzie Alexanian went up 2-1 in the first three games, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8. Germantown’s Schott led from start to finish in game four, prevailing 11-4, and then she won the fifth round, 11-3, to register a victory for the visitors.
PC had freshmen playing all the way down the rest of the lineup. The first two games at number five were won by Lily McIntyre of the host team (13-11, 11-5), then GFS sophomore Dylan Ragas had to withdraw due to injury. Charter number six Dabney Baum won her first two games at 11-3 and 11-7, but then she had to go well past the regulation limit to clinch a 17-15 decision over an even younger player, Tigers eighth grader Miya Mariuchi.
Lexi Bari, who played first singles for the PC tennis team this fall, is stationed in the seventh spot for squash; she overcame visiting junior Naiya Mainigi, 11-4, 11-3, 11-1.
At number eight, a pair of freshmen squared off, with the Quakers’ Beatriz Buckley defeating Sarah Meigs, 11-6, 11-2, 11-2. In the ninth position, scores of 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 carried PC’s Alex Glomb past senior Tsega Afessa of the Tigers.