by Tom Utescher

Last Tuesday the squash teams at Chestnut Hill Academy and Springside School both opened the New Year with Inter-Ac League victories on their home courts, although the two contests followed very different scenarios.

The Springside Lions were clear-cut 9-0 victors over the girls of Agnes Irwin, while the boys’ match at CHA came down to the final individual contest before the Blue Devils sealed a 5-4 decision over visiting Haverford School.

For Springside it was the first league win in five Inter-Ac outings, while CHA improved to 2-1 in the league and 3-1 overall with Tuesday’s outcome.

Baldwin School has emerged as the new girls squash power on the Main Line and Agnes Irwin has struggled as of late. At Springside, the Owls were unable to capture a single game from the Lions, who had junior number one Libbie Maine master Liz Brehman (11-4, 11-2, 11-5), while senior number two Annie Maxwell took down visitor Paige Chandler (11-5, 11-7, 11-6).

Libbie Maine(right) set to return a shot from the St. Andrews player

The Springside youth corps prevailed in the third and fourth spots, with freshman Caroline Canning winning at the former position over Gracie Cook (11-2, 11-3, 11-2), and eighth grader Francesca Fabiani fashioning an 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 victory over Irwin number four Anne Scattergood.

Scattergood’s twin sister Libby met a similar fate, falling 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 to Amanda Culp, the Lions’ senior number five. Next in the order were three Springside juniors; Kelly Brady beat Irwin’s Anna Yoss (11-2, 11-5, 11-1), number seven Ellie Stout defeated Madeleine Rosato (11-6, 11-3, 11-3), and Samantha Blake swept Owls number eight Nora Buck (11-3, 11-4, 11-3).

With freshman Courtney Hamilton’s 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 win over Marielle Beckman in the ninth spot the match was officially concluded, and in an exhibition bout Lions senior Carolina Concannon was also a 3-0 winner.

Conestoga High School recently started a girls’ squash team, and on Thursday Springside easily overcame the newcomers, 9-0. With Brady out sick, Stout, Blake, Hamilton and Concannon each moved up a spot on the team ladder, but the Lions still won all nine matches by 3-0 scores, arriving at an overall record of 4-4.

Chestnut Hill Academy’s racquetmen thought that a Haverford match originally scheduled for early January had been moved back a month, so they received a shock when they got back to school on January 3 and found they’d have to face the Fords the following afternoon. There was reason for concern, as CHA had escaped from Haverford’s courts with a narrow victory (also 5-4) back in December.

In an individual match that began early last Tuesday but extended to five games, junior Alex Ambrosini gave CHA a “W” in the eighth position, getting by Haverford’s Scott Warren (5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9). One rung down, another five-gamer went the visitors’ way, as Thomas Walker won 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 13-11 over Blue Devils freshman Mason Blake (brother of Springside’s Samantha).

CHA eventually locked up wins at number three, four, and five. Senior Peter Lynn took the third match for the Devils against B.G. Lemmon (3-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 11-1), while things went more smoothly for sophomore Alex McCall (11-6, 11-5, 11-3 over Ian Rothweiler) and junior Augie Frank (11-8, 11-5, 11-7 over Sam Henderson.)

Haverford countered with victories at number six, where Jay Losty defeated CHA senior Nick DiDonato (12-10, 4-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7), and in the seventh position, where Devils freshman Philip Kelly fell to the visitors’ Jon Ruth (13-11, 13-11, 9-11, 13-11). With Sachin Patel’s 11-5, 8-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7 win over Chestnut Hill senior Anderson Good at number two, the overall match was tied at 4-4.

Like Springside, CHA has a “Maine” in the number one spot on the team. Senior Jack Maine secured the first and third games of his match (13-11, 11-6), while the second and fourth went to the Fords’ Bayard Kuensell (12-10, 15-13). After the extended fourth game, Maine came back to take the fifth at 11-7, wrapping up a 5-4 decision for his team.

Facing less-formidable franchises from Malvern Prep and Shipley School later in the week, CHA took some of its strongest players out of the line-up. The Blue Devils still defeated Malvern, 8-1, and Shipley, 9-0, lifting their overall record to 5-1.