Hopkins Maroon A team defeated a rowdy Nichols School (NY) 4-3 this afternoon in their semifinal matches at the Germantown Cricket Club. This win advances the team to the Division 3 championship match tomorrow afternoon (2pm) against Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS).
Courtney Banks (#7) started off the match against Nichols with a hard fought 3-2 loss, but she battled in long points with athleticism and finesse. These attributes will certainly be important for tomorrow's matches and for the remaining matches of the year. Rachel Hagani (#2) won her match 3-0 in demanding fashion, and credit should be given to her ability to control her shots. Rachel moved her girl around the entirety of the court, tiring her out at multiple moments, before ending point after point with precision. In the number 5 match, Kenly Burton's hard work finally paid off as she completely dominated her opponent by a score of 3-0. Kenly's competitive drive should be noted by both her teammates and her peers, as it will be essential for victory tomorrow and at New England's later in the month.
Senior Helena Lyng-Olsen (#3) continued to pick her opponents apart in another iteration of a 3-0 victory. Helena has been playing such smart squash while also having better court awareness and execution than at any other point of this season, and today was no different. Emily Ruan (#1) ran up against a very strong player from Nichols (4.3 rating), and battled hard until the end. Unfortunately, the double edged sword of the #1 position proved to be too much for her. Emily showed her strengths throughout, though, and nearly pulled off a first game victory, eventually losing 11-9.
Closing out the match were Michelle Medina (#6) and Ashley Chin (#4), in what would be a match-determining meeting for either one of these girls. Michelle, after battling back in the morning in a five game thriller, came up just short against a ridiculously athletic player from Nichols, losing 3-1 with class and character. She battled hard against a crowd that was deafening for her opponent, and she should be excited to exact revenge tomorrow in her important match. The final game, at the number four spot, pitted Ashley against a young and powerful opponent. After losing the first game, Ashley calmed down, focused, and delivered shot after shot of smart, simple, and frustrating squash for her girl to combat, winning 3-1.
Ultimately, our girls proved to be too much for Nichols, and they'll have the privilege to battle for the Division 3 title tomorrow after a good night's rest.
While Varsity Maroon was embroiled in its match, Varsity Gray stepped on court against Greenwich High School, a new but well-coached group that eventually won 5-2.
Episcopal Academy’s courts were busy this late in the day, so we opened on a single court, where Eleanor faced a straightforward match that she won capably 4,2,2. Emi followed and found a very different style. Her girl buzzed around the court, and Emi had trouble focusing her game and getting the ball deep. Moreover, tournament fatigue lead to some mishits. Still, Emi settled her game and pushed, particularly in game two, which she won in 10, and in the final game, which also went to 10, though favoring Greenwich.
The score now split, we also added a second Court. Catey quickly found herself down one game but fought back in the second game, though losing 10. She had the momentum, however, and took game three in an impressive 7 by driving deep and throwing off her girl’s timing and taking away her drop shot. Game four ultimately did go to Greenwich, but Catey reasserted herself and held the court mightily. Meantime, Ally found herself playing a Greenwich drop shot pro. Ally adjusted and took the second game in 7, but then lost game three. Game four saw Ally battle to control the back court, taking away Greenwich’s short game. Still, Greenwich returned enough balls and kept in play long enough to win that game, bringing the overall score to 1-3.
Clare stepped into that gap and played a wise and almost error-free three games. She controlled the entire match by keeping the ball deep and tight – it was some of her best squash yet and brought the win back into our reach.
Madison found herself on the losing end of her first game but countered in the second game with excellent high, deep balls that troubled Greenwich. That strategy allowed Madison to take over the center and front court, though the weekend’s fatigue cut into her speed and focus. Feisty Madison pushed Greenwich hard, though Greenwich did grab that match and the overall win.
Chloe played for honor, and she meant it. The first two games, however, went to Greenwich, but rather than rollover, Chloe rolled up her sleeves. She stepped up in front of her girl and prevented that zippy player from taking centercourt; Chloe’s careful drives and crosses commanded, and her scores of 11–3 and 11–8 sent the event into a massive and intense fifth game. Each girl struggled to own the court, Greenwich throwing a staggering variety of shots and running nonstop; Chloe replied with wall-hugging drives and deceptive crosses that befuddled Greenwich. Certainly, the match and this game in particular was Chloe‘s most sophisticated squash and psychology of the season, coming down to a ten-all tiebreaker. Greenwich walked away with the win, but Chloe gave us a triumph.
Varsity Gray continues Nationals tomorrow at 10 AM, playing for the 3/4 slot, a fabulous improvement over last year‘s performance from a similar group of players.
Considering the timing of tomorrow’s second match - Varsity A 2:00 at Germantown Cricket - we should return to the Hopkins campus at about 8 o’clock tomorrow evening. We will stop at the Westport rest stop, if people desire that. Please contact me Mr. Czepiel if you plan to take it vantage of that option.