by Tom Utescher
The girls of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy are launching the squash season with a group of racquetwomen that is returning almost intact from the 2018-19 campaign.
The only player who has graduated is Audrey Hong, who was a tri-captain last winter and was usually positioned in the middle of the Blue Devils’ lineup. Current seniors Maggie Pearson and Abbie Rorke return as captains this season.
New head coach Roger Jones is familiar to everyone. Over the years, he’s been a student and a faculty member at the school, and he coached the boys’ squash team at the old Chestnut Hill Academy. Most recently, he helped coach the successful SCH girls’ middle school team.
When playing at full strength, the Blue Devils have a pair of sisters at the top of the lineup. Sophomore Whitney Taylor reprises her role as SCH number one from last year, and in the second spot is her sister, Nathalie, a freshman who has arrived from Norwood-Fontbonne Academy.
When the team hosted a weaker combination squad from from Harriton and Lower Merion High Schools for the season opener last Thursday, both of the Taylor sisters were given the day off. Also sitting out was Pearson’s sister, Lucy, a sophomore who will play one of the middle positions on the SCH ladder. The Blue Devils still won easily, 9-0.
Yet another set of sisters on the roster, Celia and Anna Mazzarelli, did see action last Wednesday. Playing at number four, Celia, a junior, knocked out HLM sophomore Jaclyn Gelfand, 11-7, 11-4, 11-3. Anna, a freshman, was playing an exhibition match at number 10 and won in straight games while giving up a total of just four points.
Two other Blue Devils have older brothers who were once prominent players in the SCH boys’ program. Freshman Winslow Tracy won 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 at number six against visiting senior Elizabeth Ward, while at number nine, SCH’s Nicole Giegerich went past fellow 11th grader Victoria Bermudez, 11-2, 11-2, 11-1.
In the eighth flight, sophomore Ava Zimmer gave the hosts an 11-6, 11-0, 11-9 victory when she met junior Elizabeth Rudy of the Ram Aces. One spot up, Blue Devils freshman Isabella DeCesare turned away sophomore guest Ella Brownfeld in the only four-game match of the day, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-3.
In the fifth spot for SCH, an 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 win was recorded by junior Charlotte Stahlecker, who played against a senior from the HLM team, Stella Eisenberg.
The youngest Springsider, eighth grader Allie Stoddard, was slotted into the number two match on this occasion, and she dispatched senior Rachel Forman, 11-1, 11-3, 11-3.
Above and below her in the match order were the two SCH senior captains. At number three, Pearson took the measure of visiting freshman Sophie Goldman, 11-2, 11-3, 11-3. In the top spot, HLM freshman Penelope Fornas bowed to the Blue Devils’ Rorke, 11-1, 11-4, 11-8.