Right on schedule.
More than halfway into its season, the Greenwich Academy squash team is in its usual dominant form and already primed and poised to defend its titles.
Greenwich Academy, which won the Division I title at the U.S. High School Team Championships the past three seasons and has seven straight New England crowns to its ledger, is 4-1 this winter, after topping Taft School on Wednesday.
The Gators, whose lone loss came against Brunswick School, swept a talented Taft team, 7-0, and once again, showed why they are the gold standard on the squash court.
“We are a strong team and we played with a good, professional attitude against a good Taft side,” GA coach Luke Butterworth said. “Our team is ready to step up at nationals, which is coming up in three weeks time. We are so excited for it and we are hungry to get another title for Greenwich Academy.”
Junior Emma Carney, Greenwich Academy’s No. 1 player, continued her standout season at the top spot, defeating Taft’s Adriya Patel, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 on Wednesday.
Carney, who also excels on GA’s tennis team, competed at the prestigious Junior British Open last week in England, where she won three of the five matches she tested her skills in.
“The British Open was a really good experience, there were a lot of great girls and I’ve never seen squash played at that high of a level,” Carney said. “I got to meet a lot of players all over the world and got to work with a lot of coaches, which was good. I played a girl from Malaysia, a girl from India, and someone from England, it was great.”
Carney’s brother Tad, a freshman at Brunswick, also played at the British Open. Her oldest brother Drew, is on the squash team at Yale University, after starring at Brunswick.
“My older brother started playing squash and we all wanted to play it too, because whatever he did we wanted to do,” Carney said. “I’ve practiced with Tad a lot over the years.”
This marks Carney’s first season playing at the No. 1 position for the Gators.
“It’s definitely tougher than last season, because going into every match, I’m expecting to play someone really good,” Carney said. “But the season is going really well so far.”
Senior Claire Aube, who will play squash at Dartmouth College next season, was an 11-3, 11-4, 11-2 winner against Taft’s Carolina Salvatore at the No. 2 spot on Wednesday.
Aube and her twin sister Haley, who will continue her squash career at Stanford University, have been a part of three GA national championship squads.
“So far the team has been playing really well,” Aube said. “We’ve been working hard the past couple of days after break and before break we also worked hard on our fitness and conditioning drills.”
Last season saw the Gators defeat Agnes Irwin School for the U.S. High School Division I title.
“Nationals is sooner than we think and we are all really excited for nationals,” Aube said. “We are just hoping we can play as we did last year and do even better. All these teams we will play against will provide us with good competition.”
At the third spot, Binney Huffman of GA was a 3-0 victor against Sadie Pollack (11-1, 11-1, 11-4).
“Playing against each other during practices definitely helps everyone get on their game, because everyone on this team is such a great player,” Huffman said. “We’ve won the national title three years in a row so we are looking to come on strong and get that national title back.”
Greenwich Academy senior Lucy Stephenson, who will compete at Princeton University next season, posted an 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 win over Taft’s Eliza King Freedman at No. 4.
“My match at No. 4 was good, I stayed focused through the whole match and got through it really well,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson knows what the perfect ending to her senior season on the squad will entail.
“We want to capture the New England and national title again,” Stephenson said. “Winning the New England title is hard, because it’s about team points, so each player has to focus on placing as high as they could to get those points. A couple of years ago, we shared the New England title with Deerfield, so we are trying to avoid that this year and get the title for ourselves. That would be awesome for our seniors.”
Lindsay Westerfield (No. 5), Haley Aube (No. 6) and Brecon Welch (No. 7) were also 3-0 winners in their respective matches against their Taft foes.
“Nationals and New Englands are all we’ve been looking for and we are all ready for those competitions, which is great,” Huffman said.