Near the rear of the court, SCH number two Francesca Fabiani winds up for a backhand stroke. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Following a lopsided home court loss (1-8) in their squash season opener against Germantown Friends last Tuesday, the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Lions were able to improve their standing over the next two days.

Down in Delaware, SCH blanked host St. Andrew’s School, 9-0, on Wednesday afternoon, then were back home on Thursday for a 7-2 victory over the Shipley School Gators.

Graduation claimed six members of the Lions’ 2011-2012 roster, and five of them were regulars in the starting varsity line-up. GFS graduated two Tigers and so returns relatively intact, led by a fearsome number one in 11th grader Olivia Fiechter, a U.S. Junior National Team player.

Tuesday’s match was the season debut for Germantown, as well, and the visitors came away with 3-0 victories from Feichter, sophomores Grayson Melby (#2) and Annie Tyson (#3), junior Claire Schmidt (#5) and freshman Elizabeth Wallace (#8). Tigers junior Hannah Safford was a 3-1 winner at number six, and 3-2 wins were ground out by the two seniors in the line-up, Anna Bezahler (#4) and Lauren Shinn (#7).

Saving Springside Chestnut Hill from a whitewash was sophomore number nine Allison Day, who topped Tigers freshman Isabel Schmidt, 3-0. Day won each of her matches on the next two afternoons, as well, and she had plenty of company in the Wednesday outing, as SCH didn’t lose a match down at St. Andrew’s.

Back home to take on Shipley, Day downed Gators senior Abbie Spector, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5. A little higher on the ladder, the Lions won early matches thanks to juniors Sarrah Schreffler (#7) and Leah Beight (#8). Schreffler swept visiting sophomore Sara French, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6, and Beight beat a fellow 11th-grader, Chelsea Shanis, 11-3, 11-4, 11-1.

Springside Chestnut Hill’s lone senior, Hannah Baxter, succeeded in straight games, as well, and the same was true of the only freshman in the line-up, Samira Baird. In the fourth spot, Baird bounced visiting senior Carli Ladda, 11-1, 11-2, 11-9, and one rung below, Baxter finished off freshman Britt Lovett of the Gators, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7.

In the only five-game affair of the day, a pair of juniors squared off in the third spot, and Courtney Hamilton of the host team outlasted Anna Martin of Shipley, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-3. The Gators’ first win of the afternoon came in the number six match, where senior Zara Steinberg got by SCH junior Nina Nalle in four games, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7.

The overall outcome had been decided by the time the number one and two matches got underway. In the second spot, SCH sophomore Francesca Fabiani took the first game at 11-5 and Shipley senior Annie Lovett captured the second round, 11-9, but Fabiani breezed through the last two games, 11-3, 11-2.

The Lions’ number one, junior Caroline Canning, is a team tri-captain along with Baxter and Hamilton. She got a leg up in the opening game of her match, but Gators sophomore Pinky Rowe rallied to win 11-9, and she won the second game as well, 11-6.

After another early lead for Canning in the third go-round, Rowe climbed back into an 8-8 tie. The Lions’ number one dug in and toughed out an 11-9 victory to force a fourth game, which Rowe won at 11-2 for Shipley’s second victory of the afternoon.