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December 17, 2009

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Tigers’ top talent too much for Springside squash

Eighth-grader Olivia Fiechter, the number one player for the GFS varsity, lets the ball loose as she winds up for a serve.

With a lot of their strength concentrated at the top of the squash team ladder, the Tigers of Germantown Friends captured matches number one through four to overcome visiting Springside School by a 4-3 count last Thursday.

Location played an important role in the outcome, because Springside won an eighth and a ninth individual match (in addition to the number five, six and seven bouts), and had the contest taken place on the Lions’ home court, all nine matches would’ve counted in the official team score. But while all of the Inter-Ac and Girls Inter-Ac League teams have gone to a nine-match collegiate-style format this winter, GFS and some other members of the Mid-Atlantic Squash Association (which includes an Inter-Ac and an “Independents” division) are staying with the seven-player alignment that has long been the scholastic standard.

Thursday’s encounter was the first match of the season for Springside and the third for Germantown. Previously, the Tigers had lost to ever-powerful Episcopal Academy, 2-5, and had swept Shipley School, 7-0.

GFS wunderkind Olivia Fiechter, who could’ve beaten almost every high school player in the area as a seventh-grader last year, is being allowed to play in varsity matches for the first time this season. Fiechter, who actually attended Springside up through the fifth grade, went past Lions junior Annie Maxwell last Thursday, 11-3, 11-1, 11-2.

Fiechter’s arrival on the varsity scene means that sophomore Carey Celata, who played the top spot for the Tigers in each of the last two seasons, will now be able to compete at number two, where she’ll be more than a match for most opponents. She won, 11-8, 11-2, 11-3, over tenth-grader Libbie Maine of Springside, and at number three another GFS sophomore, Lydie McKenzie, topped visiting freshman Meredith Wurtz, 11-7, 11-2, 11-7.

The Tigers completed their sweep of the top four spots thanks to Lyles Swift-Farley, an 11-8, 11-8, 11-3 victor against fellow junior Amanda Culp.

In this encounter between two young teams, the lone senior in the entire match was Springside number five Lena Rice. She outbattled GFS junior Theresa Shropshire in the opening game, 13-11, and then won the next two rounds more easily, 11-1, 11-5.

The Lions had sophomores in both the sixth and seventh spots. Sam Blake defeated the Tigers’ freshman number six, Anna Bezahler, 11-5, 11-9, 12-10, but on the next rung of the ladder Springside’s Ellie Stout had to go five games to prevail against junior Lilly Tyson, 11-9, 2-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9.

With GFS hosting the event at Germantown Cricket Club, the eighth and ninth matches last Thursday were considered exhibition contests only. Here, Springside junior Carolina Concannon topped ninth-grader Eleanor Thompson in the eighth spot, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5, and when two freshmen faced one another at number nine, Perry Von Stade gave Springside a victory (11-3, 11-0, 11-9) over Lauren Shinn.

When the two schools square off again on January 14 at Springside, these last two matches will count towards the official team score. The Tigers will need to turn one of the fifth through ninth contests their way in order to win again, but in any case, the rematch should be a hard-fought affair.

 



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