Greenwich Academy proved that it was the best high school squash team in the nation when it garnered the Division I girls title at the U.S. High School Team Championships recently.
Though the U.S. Team Championships was the most prestigious tournament GA would compete in this season, it knew it still had a couple of other titles to claim.
Well, championship No. 2 was captured by the Gators on Monday.
The two-day, FAA Squash Tournament saw Greenwich Academy win all three of its matches and win the championship. GA registered a 7-0 victory over visiting Sacred Heart Greenwich in Monday’s title match.
An FAA tournament hadn’t been held for squash in more than a decade.
“The coaches wanted to create an FAA tournament like they have in field hockey, soccer and other sports,” Greenwich Academy coach Luke Butterworth said. “Squash hasn’t had a tournament, so we wanted to create one. We have some of the best players in the nation in our league, so we wanted to showcase them.”
The tournament, which included eight teams (Greenwich Academy, Sacred Heart, Rye Country Day School, Masters School, St. Luke’s, Holy Child, Greens Farms Academy, Hopkins School) commenced Friday, with the qualifying/quarterfinal-round being held at Sacred Heart.
The Gators posted 7-0 victories against Masters School in Friday’s opening round and Hopkins in Monday’s semifinals. Sacred Heart also notched 7-0 wins in its first two rounds, beating Greens Farms Academy (first round), Holy Child (semifinals), setting up a championship match against Greenwich Academy.
Showing its national title-winning form, GA defeated Sacred Heart for the FAA championship, 7-0.
The closest match came at the No. 1 spot, where Greenwich Academy junior Emma Carney edged Erin O’Connor of the Tigers, 3-2. Carney overcame a 9-6 deficit in the fifth game.
“Sacred Heart gave a good fight and Emma Carney came back very strong in the fifth game against a very good player,” Butterworth said.
Said Sacred Heart coach Celia Pashley: “Erin had a really good match against Emma it was the best I’ve seen her play all season. She worked so hard in this match and there was a lot of positives to take from it.”
Senior Claire Aube of GA was a 3-0 winner against Erin O’Connor at No. 2, while senior Lucy Stephenson took a 3-0 decision against the Tigers’ Mary O’Connor at the third spot.
Junior Binney Huffman won her match at the fourth spot against Sacred Heart’s Cameron Calcano, 3-0, while GA’s India Stephenson (No. 5) swept her match against Grace Nemec.
Sophomore Lindsay Westerfield and Brecon Welch won the matches in three games at the sixth and seventh spots, respectively for Greenwich Academy.
“We have strength in numbers, which is key for us,” Butterworth said. “We have the national title and the FAA, hopefully, we can win the triple crown.”
To accomplish that, Greenwich Academy must finish first at the New England Championships, which takes place Feb. 22-24 at Choate Rosemary Hall. The Gators have won the New England Class A title 20 times.
“We are hoping to end the season on a high at the New England Championships,” Butterworth said.
As for the just-completed FAA Tournament, Butterworth knows it was a good event to have for the sport.
“A high-level of squash is being played in this area and we wanted to showcase it,” he said. “Hopefully, it will spark future interest in FAA squash. The tournament was a good start for FAA squash.”
Like numerous coaches, Butterworth has noticed the sport’s growth.
“Connecticut has always been a strong state for squash and we hope to keep building on that,” Butterworth said. A lot of teams are putting out more than one team in their high school programs, such as JV and ‘B’ teams. It’s exciting to see that more schools are becoming interested in squash.”