Greenwich Academy Squash Nets 20th New England Championship

Greenwich Academy junior Lucy Stephenson competes against Agnes Irwin School’s Margaux Comai in the finals of the 2018 U.S. High School Team Squash Championships, Feb. 4 at the Philadelphia Cricket club. (US Squash photo)

By Brett Holey
Special to the Sentinel

The Greenwich Academy Squash program proved once again why they are tops in the nation, securing a decisive win in the NEISA Class A Squash Championships contested at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire two weekends ago.

The win comes just three weeks to the day after they captured the schools 11th National Championship. It is GA’s seventh-straight New England’s win and 20th in the program’s history.

After sharing the title with Deerfield Academy last season the Gators came in as heavy favorites and didn’t disappoint. GA had a player advance to the finals in all seven divisions and captured six individual championships and one, second-place finish.

The Gators racked up 104 points to runner-up Deerfield’s 94. Noble and Greenough was a distant third with 81 in the 15-team field.

Junior Haley Aube got things moving for the Gators, crushing the competition on the way to a repeat championship in the No. 7 position. Not only did Haley not lose a game in the tournament, she didn’t allow more than three points in any game to her opponents.

Sophomore Emma Carney cruised to a win in the No. 6 draw, defeating Greenwich resident Emily Henderson, who plays for Deerfield, 3-0 in the final match. Last year’s champ in the No. 6 draw was Lucy Stephenson. This year the GA Junior moved up one spot and easily repeated the feat, winning the No. 5 championship and all her matches 3-0.

You wouldn’t blame opponents if they felt like they were seeing double after playing the Gators.

Not only are they all relentless and skilled players, but for the third year in a row the team includes two sets of twins. Claire Aube, Haley’s twin and last year’s champ at the fifth position moved up to No. 4 and swept to the championship there.

Sophomore Binney Hoffman who finished second at No. 3 last year, won the division this year, ousting Hotchkiss School’s Ellie Burke, 3-1, 16-14, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5  in the final. Coach Luke Butterworth sited Huffman’s toughness to hang on and win a marathon first game after the match.

The one Senior in the top seven for GA is Captain Emma MacTaggart who won at No. 4 last year.

This year she reached the final with out dropping a game and ousted Hotchkiss player and Rye resident, Julia Chi 3-1, 12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5 to capture the No. 2 crown.

Junior India Stephenson, Lucy’s twin, competed in the toughest, No. 1 division and was the only Gator not to receive a first-round bye. Third-seeded Stephenson battled her way to the final, ousting the second seed in the semifinals. In the final she took a game from Caroline Spahr, of Milton Academy, the top seeded player in the tournament but wound up on the short end of a 3-1 match.

Coach Butterworth was effusive in describing his team and their efforts on the weekend, “Couldn’t be prouder of the way the girls ended the season on a high. We set out aplan to accomplish winning the National Championships and New England’s and we did so in a fantastic manner.” 

He added, “This year has been excellent, we have had great togetherness throughout the entire program.”

Emma MacTaggart, is headed to Dartmouth next year, but otherwise the core of this team that has won the last three National Championships will be intact and as the Coach says, “This New England tops off an excellent season for the GA squash programs and leaves us excited for the new season to begin already.”

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