Senior Phil Kelly, the returning number one player for Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, will lead the Blue Devils against three prominent New England teams this Saturday. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Senior Phil Kelly, the returning number one player for Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, will lead the Blue Devils against three prominent New England teams this Saturday. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

In a sort of squash version of a basketball tip-off tournament, the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy racquetmen will host teams from three New England private schools for some top-flight scholastic competition this Saturday.

With four-time national high school champion Episcopal Academy having graduated most of its top talent, SCH should be the team to beat in the Philadelphia area this winter. One of the three visiting squads, Brunswick School of Greenwich, Conn., is expected to once again be among the top-ranked teams in the U.S.

Taft School (Watertown, Conn.) has been a traditional presence on the New England squash scene, while a lesser-known program, Avon Old Farms (Avon, Conn.), has been taking the sport very seriously as of late. In addition to having a national top-ten American player transfer in, Avon has admitted four racquet-wielding students from Egypt, a longtime power in international squash.

Haverford School, which could be equipped to give SCH a run for the Inter-Ac League title this winter, will host the three New England clubs on Friday night, and they will appear in Chestnut Hill the following day.

Area racquet fans are invited to observe the competition here, which begins at 9:00 AM on Saturday with Springside Chestnut Hill meeting the “A” and “B” teams from Brunswick. Those bouts will be played both on SCH’s Willow Grove campus and at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, while all of the afternoon action will take place at SCH, with the Blue Devils taking on Taft at 2:00 PM, and playing Avon Old Farms at 5:00 PM.