Like last season, the Greenwich Academy Varsity A squash team played The Baldwin School in the Division I final of the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships and like last season and many other years, it was GA’s day in the title match.
Greenwich Academy once again, had the exciting pleasure of posing around the Patterson Cup Trophy, thanks to another superb performance on the sport’s national stage.
Defending its title in fine fashion, Greenwich Academy captured the Division I title at the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships with an impressive 5-2 victory over the The Baldwin School from Pennsylvania in the championship match held Sunday at the Arlen Specter U.S. Squash Center in Philadelphia, Pa.
The triumph marked the second straight year the top-seeded Gators defeated second-seeded Baldwin School for the Division I national championship and the seventh consecutive time GA left the tournament with the title. GA has won the Division I championship at the national tourney every year since 2015 – the tournament was not played in February of 2021 due to COVID-19 guidelines – and now an unprecedented 15 U.S. High School national team championships to its collection.
Coached by Luke Butterworth, Greenwich Academy competed in the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships in Philadelphia this past Friday-Sunday and finished 4-0 in the tournament, winning its first three matches, 7-0.
“It was a great weekend,” Butterworth said. “This year, we were seeded No. 1, last year, we were seeded No. 2, but we knew it was going to be a another closely contested match. Of the seven players that played last year, six were back competing this year and they had most of their players from last year, so it was almost a straight up lineup from last season.”
Entering the national tournament, Greenwich Academy is always the team opponents have their sights set on defeating, but it handles such a position like a focused, battle-tested team.
“The girls are always well prepped mentally, their mindset is pretty strong going into the matches at nationals,” Butterworth said. “There is a lot of pressure on them, so they need that preparation. They went in there knowing what they had to do and they all did extremely well, which is a testament to the hard work they have put in all season.”
In the Division I final at the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships, Greenwich Academy’s Emma Trauber registered a 3-0 win over Baldwin’s Christa Kay at the No. 1 position, taking the match, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4. A senior, Trauber will soon continue her squash career at the Princeton University.
“Emma played amazing squash,” Butterworth said. “She won all her matches this weekend and in the finals, she won 3-0 comfortably. She didn’t blink one minute, she was laser focused throughout the match.”
At the No. 2 spot, Charlotte Pastel, a sophomore, came back to beat Baldwin’s Eugenia Li, 3-1 (8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8).
“Once she settled into the match she played beautifully,” Butterworth said of Pastel. “We’re all excited for Charlotte, she’s improving all the time.”
Butterworth noted that Pastel is ranked No. 1 in the nation in U.S. Squash’s U17 Division.
“She takes it in stride – the pressure,” Butterworth said. “She went 1-0 down and found the energy to come back.”
Ella Schoonmaker also recorded a comeback victory for GA at the No. 3 spot. Schoonmaker, a senior, who is headed to Georgetown University, where she will play squash, posted a 3-1 win against Sabine Ball. She won by game scores of 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7.
“In the final match she played, she was really composed, she understood what her plan was and executed her plan to the final details,” Butterworth said of Schoonmaker’s performance. “She pulled through for us.”
In a tough, 47-minute match, Rashi Goverdhanam of The Baldwin School edged GA sophomore Grace Fazzinga at No. 4, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8, taking the match 3-2 in come-from-behind fashion.
“Grace was one of the girls that played first,” Butterworth noted. “The opponent that she played is heading off to Yale. Grace stood toe-to-toe with her the entire match. She was very close to winning it and she inspired her teammates with her effort level, setting the tone of the championship match for our team.”
In another down-to-the-wire match at the No. 5 position, Baldwin received a 3-2 victory from Naomi Jefferson-Sambanis, who edged out Greenwich Academy junior Ella Miller, 11-5, 13-11, 8-11, 8-9, 11-6.
“Ella was so close, she was 2-0 down and started to fight back,” Butterworth said. “She showed a huge improvement over the last year is an incredibly dedicated player. We are really excited for her to return and we’re looking forward to seeing her display great work ethic and dedication.”
Freshman Charlotte Tompkins clinched the match and the Division I national championship for GA, defeating Olivia Choo, 3-2 (12-10, 11-4, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8) at No. 6 singles.
“The other player started fighting back,” Butterworth recalled. “She (Tompkins) managed to recompose herself in the third and she managed to pull out the win.”
At the seventh spot, GA sophomore Anniston Mahaffy was victorious against Penelope Furnas, 11-8, 11-4 (a third game was not played since GA clinched the match).
“She brings a lot of positive energy, she makes everyone relaxed and have fun,” Butterworth said.
Greenwich Academy topped The Baldwin School for the national championship in the 2022 tournament, also held at Arlen Specter U.S. Squash Center in Philadelphia. In the Division I semifinals at the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships, the Gators cruised to a 7-0 triumph over fifth-seeded Agnes Irwin School, which hails from Pennsylvania. Agnes Irwin is a school GA played in the title match in the past.
Each GA player won their match by a 3-0 score against Agnes Irwin in the semfinal-round. Trauber took her match at No. 1 against, Claire Minnis, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4, while Pastel (No. 2) was an 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 winner against Cecilia Curran. Schoonmaker won her match at No. 3, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 and Fazzinga posted an 11-3, 11-8, 11-3 at the No. 4 spot.
Miller was an 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 victor (No. 5) and Tompkins took her semifinal match (No. 6), 12-10, 11-3, 11-3. Mahaffy swept her match, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 at No. 7 in the semifinal-round. In the quarterfinal-round, each GA athlete posted 3-0 victories in a 7-0 triumph against eighth-seeded Hotchkiss School.
Trauber, Pastel, Schoonmaker, Tompkins and Mahaffy, once again, notched decisive victories, while seniors Piper Giovine and Madeline Oh, played at Nos. 6 and 7, respectively, for Greenwich Academy in the quarterfinals. Giovine, who will play squash at the University of Virginia next season, won her match, 11-6, 11-8, 11-2, while Oh, who will compete on the squash team at the University of Pennsylvania next season, was an 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 winner.
GA began action in the High School Nationals by topping 16th-seeded Penn Charter School, 7-0. Through the first three rounds of the High School Nationals, Greenwich Academy lost just one game out of the three matches, going 63-1 in its 64 games (seven players won three games in each matchup).
“We won 7-0, with each player winning 3-0 in the quarterfinals and semifinals against strong opponents,” Butterworth noted. “We were 63-1 prior to heading into the finals, which is pretty amazing considering we went up against some strong opponents. They were hungry and they were dedicated to the cause. They showed their true strengths and power. I would like to thank my coaching team, Jamie Sutcliffe and Arturo Barreto and all the staff at GA for their continued support.”
The U.S. High School Team Squash Championships included six girls divisions. Greenwich Academy’s squad appreciated the opportunity to compete in the tournament at the Arlen Specter U.S. Squash Center in Philadelphia.
“The center is a world class facility,” Butterworth said. “It was packed full of spectators and it was an amazing spectacle for squash.”
The victory put tied the ribbon around a perfect 12-0 season for Greenwich Academy, which also won another New England Interscholastic Squash Association team championship and FAA team title this season. At the NEISA Class A Championships, Trauber (No. 1 player bracket), Pastel (No. 2), Schoonmaker (No. 3), Fazzinga (No. 4), Miller (No. 5), Tompkins (No. 6) and Mahaffy (No. 7) each won titles for GA at the tournament, held recently at Deerfield School in Massachusetts.
“I’m proud of the girls, past, present and future,” Butterworth said, while discussing the program’s outstanding success. “Everyone is doing great, we have an amazing program.”
Categories: Greenwich Academy, Winter sports
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