US SQUASH

Winged Beavers Soar to First National Title; Greenwich Takes Home Eighth Patterson Cup

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The Avon Old Farms winged beavers and Greenwich Academy gators are the 2014 U.S. High School Team Squash division one champions as the largest squash tournament in the world–involving 151 schools and 1, 403 players representing sixteen states–concludes at Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, Springside Academy, Philadelphia Squash Club, Episcopal Academy, and Fairmount Athletic Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

One week after winning the U.S. Middle School Championships, Greenwich Academy traveled south in search of their eighth national title in the competition’s nine-year history with three sides–A, B, and JV. The gators’ campaign started strong as both the A and B sides recorded first-round victories against William Penn Charter and upsetting four seeds Germantown Friends respectively.

Leonard straightNoble and Greenough ended Greenwich’s hopes of an all-Greenwich semifinal as they defeated the B side 5-2 in the quarterfinals, while Greenwich A cruised past local side Episcopal Academy 7-0. The top Greenwich team continued their impressive run to the final against Noble and Greenough, again registering a 7-0 victory in the semifinals.

The bottom half of the girls division one draw saw three seeds, Deerfield Academy, put together a strong run to the semifinals defeating both the Potomac and Taft schools 6-1, while local two seeds, The Baldwin School, met Deerfield in the semis on an undefeated run of two, 7-0 victories. A close semifinal between Deerfield and Baldwin ended with only two matches being decided in three games, as Baldwin taking the No. 1 and 2 matches in four games, and Deerfield winning the bottom five to reach the final.

Sunday’s final between Greenwich and Deerfield started level as Deerfield’s No. 7 Madeline Chai defeated Greenwich’s Caroline McQuiston, and Greenwich’s No. 2 Lindsey Scott defeated Deerfield’s Carey Danforth. Greenwich pulled ahead 3-1 with the second slate of No. 5 and 3 matches as Kate Feeley and Jocelyn Lehman both recorded three-game wins. Deerfield’s No. 6 Anne Blasberg then gave her side renewed hope with an 11-7, 14-12, 13-11 victory making the overall score 3-2. However, minutes later on the adjacent court, Greenwich Academy No. 1 and U.S. Junior National Team player Kayley Leonard (pictured above, right) emphatically defeated Samantha Chai 11-3, 11-2, 11-4 to clinch an eighth national title for Greenwich in nine years.

Patterson CupThe Patterson Cup’s namesake, Bryan Patterson, presented Greenwich Academy with the honors after Greenwich finished the match 5-2.

The boys’ division one final followed on court as Avon Old Farms and Brunswick A both aimed for their first national High School championship titles. Their roads to the final were anything but easy as both sides endured close 4-3 semifinals.

Propelled by a top four that remained undefeated throughout the tournament, Avon dropped two matches in the first round against Germantown Friends followed by two, 4-3 victories against Taft and locals Haverford A in the semifinals.

Brunswick opened their tournament with a 7-0 win against Harriton/Lower Merion, then defeating Pingry–who eliminated defending champions Episcopal Academy in the first round–6-1 in the quarterfinals. Springside Chestnut Hill tested Brunswick’s title credentials in the semifinals as the Connecticut side advanced 4-3 in a closely-contested match up throughout all positions.

Avon champsOne of the two first matches on court between No. 2’s Karim Tarek (pictured top, right) of Avon and David Yacobucci (pictured top, left) proved to be pivotal in the overall match score. Despite a fightback from Yacobucci, Tarek closed out the marathon match in the fifth game in the only final match not decided in three games.

Leading up to the final two matches, Brunswick took a 3-2 advantage with wins in the John Fitzgerald and Tyler Carney in the No. 5 and 6 positions.

Continuing their unbeaten tournament record, Avon No. 4 and 1 Atticus Kelly and Seif Attia won their matches in three games to clinch the match for Avon earning the school its first national title.

View results from all ten divisions here.

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