Girls squash Greenwich Academy cruises to 8th N.E. title in row
Greenwich Academy left no doubt all season that it was going to continue its squash dynasty.
The Gators rolled through another undefeated regular season, captured the Division I title at the U.S. High School Team Championships in impressive fashion, then put the bow on another memorable season in their final event of their 2018-19 campaign on Sunday.
Behind six first-place finishes, Greenwich Academy won the New England Interscholastic Squash Association Class A title for the eighth straight season, amassing a team total of 107 points at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford on Sunday.
Deerfield Academy finished second in the team standings with 95 points, while Choate Rosemary Hall was third in the 16-team Class A tournament.
The victory marked the 21st time GA has claimed the New England team championship.
“Overall, it was a fantastic performance by our team throughout the weekend,” said GA coach Luke Butterworth, who has guided the Gators to their last five New England titles. “I’m very proud to be the coach at GA and work with talented players day-in and day-out.”
The NEISA Championships marked the final squash event for Greenwich Academy’s two pairs of twin sisters — seniors Claire and Haley Aube and Lucy and India Stephenson.
“It was an emotional weekend, with four seniors playing their last high-school matches,” said Butterworth, whose squad won their fourth straight U.S. High School title earlier this month. “I watched them compete at GA when they were a part of our middle school squash program until they were leaders of our high school squash program. It was nice to see them end their final season with a New England squash title and I’m very proud of them.”
Claire Aube, who will continue her squash career at Dartmouth College, defeated Choate Rosemary Hall sophomore Nicolina Tessitore in the championship match of the No. 2 player bracket, 11-0, 11-6, 11-6.
Aube, the top seed, was a 3-0 winner in her first three matches of the two-day tournament.
“Claire always plays at a consistent level,” Butterworth said. “She always remains poised, her on-court demeanor never changes. She was fantastic, she didn’t lose a game the entire tournament.”
Lucy Stephenson, who will take her squash skills to Princeton University, won all four of her matches 3-0, including her title matchup against Choate senior Mia Krishnamurthy (11-9, 14-12, 11-4).
“I was so proud to see her end her high-school career by winning the No. 3 bracket,” Butterworth said of Stephenson.
India Stephenson, who is also headed to Princeton, registered a 3-0 win over Deerfield Academy’s Griffin Dewey in the No. 5 final (11-7, 11-4, 11-6). She, too, swept her four matches.
“She ended the season with a really good performance, by playing at a high level the whole tournament,” Butterworth said. “Lucy and India are going to play some great squash at Princeton.”
Haley Aube, who will play squash at Stanford University in the fall, defeated Deerfield’s Sarah Stonestreet in the No. 7 title matchup, 11-9, 11-6, 11-3. After receiving an opening-round bye, the top-seeded Aube swept her quarterfinal- and semifinal-round matches.
“Haley will be a great asset to her college team,” Butterworth said. “She was always consistent and we could always count on her to get the ball rolling for us.”
GA junior Emma Carney, who moved up to the No. 1 position for the Gators this season, lost to champion Christy Lau of Brooks School in the quarterfinals.
“Playing No. 1 in high school squash is always difficult,” Butterworth said. “Nearly every player you face is very tough. Emma had a fantastic season and we’re excited about her future.”
Binney Huffman, also a GA junior, claimed the No. 4 bracket championship, beating Habour Woodword of Deerfield, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 in the finals.
Huffman also posted 3-0 victories in the tournament’s first three rounds.
“Binney is a very aggressive, tenacious player,” Butterworth said. “I’m really excited about seeing her come back next season even stronger.”
At No. 6, GA sophomore Lindsay Westerfield captured the tournament title with a 3-0 win against Willow Woodward (Deerfield, 12-10, 11-4, 11-3). She won all of her matches, 3-0.
“Playing in her first New England tournament, she adapted to the environment and showed a lot of poise,” Butterworth said. “She’s part of our future.”
As for the future, Greenwich Academy is graduating four players from its starting lineup in the Aube and Stephenson sisters.
The Gators’ varsity B team placed sixth in the Division I bracket of the U.S. High School Team Championships and several players will move up to the varsity A squad next season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing these players step up, fill their shoes and improve,” Butterworth said.