by Tom Utescher

Freshman number five Caroline Canning was one of many Springsiders who won three straight games in last week’s home court victory over Shipley. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

In the week leading up to the scholastic national tournament in New Haven, Conn., Springside started out with a strong showing in a Monday match against visiting Shipley School, taking all nine official matches from the Gators.

A glance back at Springside’s schedule reveals almost no close team scores this winter, as the Lions seemed to occupy the middle ground between schools that were either significantly stronger or weaker. The team finished with an overall record of 6-8, and went 2-6 against Girls Inter-Ac League opponents.

In the Shipley square-off last week, Springside junior Ellie Stout unintentionally added a dash of excitement to an otherwise workmanlike win by the home team. She fell behind 0-2 in the number-six match, as visitor Melanie Salewski secured the first two frames at 11-9, 11-8. Stout survived the third round, 11-9, then prevailed in the next two games, 11-4, 12-10.

In the ninth spot Lions freshman Courtney Hamilton cruised, 11-3, 11-1, 11-0, against the Gators’ Abbie Spector, and one rung above on the team ladder Kelly Brady conquered Caroline Anopol, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2. Brady’s 11th-grade classmate, Samantha Blake, slew Silvi Spector, 11-4, 11-6, 11-3, in the number seven match.

A pair of young players came through for the Lions in the middle of the line-up, where eighth-grader Francesca Fabiani held down the fourth spot and freshman Caroline Canning played number five. Fabiani put up scores of 11-3, 11-8, 11-5 against the visitors’ Zara Sternberg, while Canning confounded Sydney Lazard of the Gators, 11-7, 11-2, 11-4.

The Lions’ most experienced athletes also performed their tasks efficiently for the hosts as they played in the top three spots. Junior number one Libbie Maine sent down Shipley’s Lizzy Schwartz, 11-1, 11-8, 11-5, and Springside seniors Annie Maxwell and Amanda Culp were 3-0 winners, as well. Maxwell mastered the Gators’ number two, Julia Tyson, 11-1, 11-4, 11-1, and Culp overcame Annie Lovett in the third spot, 11-6, 11-3, 11-7.