HARTFORD — The silver, cup-shaped winner’s trophy was displayed for all to see during Sunday’s U.S. Team Squash Championships and those who looked at the trophy saw one school etched on it numerous times.
Following another brilliant performance at the nation’s premier high school tournament, the words Greenwich Academy will be soon be carved on the championship trophy yet again.
At a historic venue that’s housed a lot of title-winning college squads, Greenwich Academy played like a champion, capturing the Division I title of the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships at Trinity College’s George A. Kellner Squash Center.
Top-seeded Greenwich Academy added to its legacy by registering a 5-2 win over second-seeded Agnes Irwin School in the title match of the team squash championships.
The victory gave the Gators an unprecedented 12 national squash titles since the tournament commenced in 2005, including four consecutive championships. There’s no secret to GA’s success. Besides possessing talent, the team works at its craft daily.
“Day-in and day-out throughout the entire year our players have dedicated their time to playing quality squash,” GA coach Luke Butterworth said. “Over the year, they have built a love for the game and that shows when they get out there in the tough moments. I could not be more proud of them for the way they handled themselves on the court. Their mindset, body language and overall approach to each match was great.”
Sunday’s triumph marked the fourth straight U.S. team title for Greenwich Academy’s two sets of twins — Lucy and India Stephenson and Claire and Haley Aube. The quartet also won two national middle school squash championships at GA.
“It’s really special, that I’ve had the chance to win it again with my sister and my two best friends, India and Lucy,” said Haley Aube, one of the Gators’ senior captains. “I’m really proud that we were able to win it together.”
Said Lucy Stephenson, also a senior: “It’s so special to win our fourth national championship our senior year. It’s special for all four of us and it’s great to end on such a high note.”
Greenwich Academy, which also beat Agnes Irwin from Rosemont, Pa., for the U.S. title last year, saw sophomore Lindsay Westerfield clinch the championship match from the No. 6 spot. Westerfield’s 3-0 win (13-11, 11-4, 11-2) against Catherine Costin gave GA its fourth victory of the match, sealing the squad’s fourth straight title.
“I was really nervous,” Westerfield said. “I knew we had won three matches, so I knew I would be the deciding match and being new on the team I was nervous to play in this this tournament in general.”
Westerfield didn’t seem nervous though, as she swept her way to victory.
“It’s exciting to win it and being a part of this team is everything I hoped for,” Westerfield said. “My teammates are so supportive, they’ve helped me on and off the court and they’ve helped me adjust to a new school.”
On the squash center’s two main courts playing first for GA in the title match against Agnes Irwin were Claire Aube (No. 2) and Haley Aube (No. 7).
After losing the first two games against Margaux Comai, 11-8, 11-8, Haley Aube came back to take the next three games, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6.
“I was the first match to start us off and since we had a title to defend I got nervous and didn’t come out with the right mentality,” Haley Aube said. “But once I figured out a new game plan, I got back in it I turned it around and came back.”
The sisters always inspire each other.
“We both ended one of our games at the same exact time and we both lost, so we looked at each other and gave each other a fist bump and a look and we both came back and won the next game,” Haley Aube said. “I’m very happy that it turned out the way it did and in the end.”
At the second spot, Agnes Irwin’s Olivia Walsh edged Claire Aube, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-4.
“This year was really hard in terms of our competition, but we pulled it out and we’re really happy about it,” said Claire Aube, also a team captain. “We worked really well, we worked together as a team and managed to get the national title again, which is really exciting.”
In a match involving GA junior Emma Carney and Katharine Glaser at the No. 1 spot, Glaser posted a tight 3-0 win (13-11, 12-10, 11-7).
“I’m actually really close friends with her (Glaser), she’s a really good player, so it was fun to compete against her,” Carney said. “Being here is amazing, I feel so lucky to be a part of this team.”
Senior Lucy Stephenson was a 3-0 winner against Agnes Irwin’s Rachel Mashek at No. 3 (17-15, 11-7, 11-6).
“It was 3-love, but each game was very intense, the first one was 17-15,” Stephenson said. “I brought it back in the second and third games able to close it out. I never played before a crowd like that, I was so amped up.”
Junior Binney Huffman of GA took a 3-1 decision against Isabella Schneider at the fourth spot (11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6).
“I was the last match on, so we had already clinched, but it was good, because the whole team was watching my match and cheering,” Huffman said. “I’ve been on the team three years and this is our third national title, so to win it again is amazing.”
The fifth spot saw India Stephenson of GA defeat Caroline Glaser, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7. The GA squad went 4-0 during the three-day tournament.
“The match was1-1 when I was on the court, I was definitely feeling nerves,” Stephenson said. “As I got into it, I was playing with the excitement I usually play with. It’s nice to have a championship to show for how hard we work.”
Greenwich Academy’s B team also competed in the tournament, placing a solid sixth in Division I.
“They secured the highest finish ever for our B team,” Butterworth said. “It’s always difficult when you are not quite in the lime light with the A team being so successful, but those girls are so dedicated to the program and they’re definitely fantastic assets to Greenwich Academy. We hold joint practices, so the A team winning the title couldn’t be done without the B team.”
GA’s B squad included: Charlotte Gillis, Ali Murdock, Mary Duffy, Andrea Jemiolo, Megan Meyerson, Bella Trauber, Charlotte Forshner and Penny Oh.