February 12, 2009


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CHA squash ties for title at MASA tourney
Chestnut Hill Academy, 2009 Middle Atlantic Squash Association Co-Champion: (Front, from left) Alex McCall, Nick Schreiber, John Canning, Nick DiDonato and Anderson Good. (Rear, from left) Coach Mike Jefferys, Sam Brenman, Jack Maine, Zach Schweitzer, Dylan Tracy and Dylan Ward.

Chestnut Hill Academy seized a share of the 2009 Middle Atlantic Squash Association championship two weekends ago, earning 35 team points to tie for first place at the MASA tournament with the host school, Episcopal Academy.

The Blue Devils’ ascendancy came as an unwelcome surprise both to Episcopal, which has beaten everyone in head-to-head regular-season matches, and to Haverford School, which topped CHA 6-3 in a Jan. 23 meeting between the teams, but finished third at the MASA event.

Last week, the Devils and Fords met for their rematch at CHA, and Haverford prevailed, 5-4. While the Fords gained some measure of revenge, it was the Devils who have the MASA trophy, which will stay with them for six months and then be turned over to the co-champs at Episcopal.

Each team entered eight players at the MASA tourney, and they were divided by their ranking on their teams into four different divisions. The top two players from each school were placed in the Division A draw, the third and fourth men in Division B, and so on.

CHA freshman number three Nick Schreiber, a relative newcomer to the sport who has proven something of a prodigy, won the Division B bracket at the tourney, contributing the individual maximum of eight points towards the Blue Devils’ team score. Close behind were junior number five Dylan Tracy and sophomore number eight Anderson Good, who played in Division C and Division D, respectively, and each produced six points for Chestnut Hill.

Alex McCall, a freshman playing number seven, picked up five points during the competition, and sophomore number two Jack Maine earned four points. Rounding out the Devils’ team total with two points apiece were juniors Dylan Ward (number one) and Zach Schweitzer (number four), and sophomore Nick DiDonato (number six).

For last Tuesday’s head-to-head between CHA and Haverford, the Fords were missing their regular number eight Brian Safford, but that turned out to be a moot point, as CHA had won both the eighth and ninth matches back in January, and won them again in the rematch.

Last week only three of the nine individual bouts were decided in three straight games. CHA copped one of these, as junior Sam Brenman defeated Haverford number nine Sam Henderson, 11-3, 11-2, 11-3. The visiting Fords saw number one Ash Egan post an 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 win over the Devils’ Ward, and Haverford number five Creighton Soukup topped Tracy, 11-2, 11-5, 11-8.

In all, CHA would take four matches from the Fords as opposed to three during the January encounter, and the Blue Devil player who reversed his fortune was Maine. He’d lost to Haverford number two Price Soukup the first time around, but last Tuesday he opened with an 11-9 win. Soukup took the second game by an identical score, but Maine then put the match away with a pair of 11-7 games.

The reliable Schreiber also won in four games, defeating Wes Roller, a Haverford senior, 11-4, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9.

The Fords had to sweat to seal the team victory, earning the “W” by taking three of the four matches that went a full five games. Two juniors squared off in the fourth spot, with the visitors’ Bayard Kuensell coming back to capture an 11-6, 4-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9 win over CHA’s Schweitzer.

CHA’s youngest player, eighth-grader Alex McCall, lost his first two games, 10-12, 6-11, to Haverford number seven Bobby Greco, a junior. McCall scrapped back to win the next two games, 11-9, 11-8, and kept pace with Greco up to 3-3 in the fifth. Greco then pulled away to win 11-3, frequently hitting drop shots and then using his longer reach to corral the harder answering strokes by McCall.

One rung above, Haverford number six Sachin Patel also prevailed, outlasting DiDonato of the Blue Devils, 5-11, 12-10, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5.

Helping CHA keep the final team score close was Good, who staged an impressive rally against fellow sophomore Austin List in the number eight match. List went up, 11-8, 11-9, then Good rebounded for 11-9, 11-4 wins to tie the match. In game five the players seesawed up to 8-8, then Good won out, securing match point with a boast hit from relatively deep in the court.

On Friday, the Devils and Fords hit the road with other area teams, headed for the High School National Championships at Yale University