The boys and girls squash teams competed in the 3-day US National Tournament in Philadelphia.
The boys and girls squash teams competed in the three day 2022 US High Squash Nationals. It was the first time in a couple years the teams were able to compete in the tournament. The girls competed in Division III (one of the highest divisions the team has ever played in) and the boys competed in Division V. Each day the teams had early wake ups at 5:00 and 6:00 AM to get to Philadelphia. Even though they were long days, the Saints turned in performances both as individuals and as a team that were true reflections of the program’s development this season.
On the first day of the tournament, the boys took on Mission Squash of Houston. In a close match between the 8 and 9 seeds of the bracket St. Andrew’s was able to find success thanks to wins from #1 William Atkinson ’22 (3-0), #3 Tony Jiang ’23 (3-1), #4 Grey Dugdale (3-0), and #7 Charlie Lunsford (3-0). The standout of this match was Dugdale, a freshman, competing in first national tournament. He mixed in a variety of his shots, playing perfectly paced serves, and never let a loss of a point get into his head. The Saints won the match 4-3.
The second day would prove to be a tough challenge for the Saints as they had advanced to take on the #1 seed, Radnor. This time the Saints were able to get victories from #3 Jiang (3-1), #6 Jacob Bolno ’23 (3-2), and #7 Lunsford (3-1). Bolno experienced something of a baptism of fire at his first national championship, but showed that learning on the job can sometimes be an excellent form of instruction. While the team put up a great battle trying to shock the top seeded Radnor, they were able to show off their depth and send St. Andrew’s to the consolation bracket with a 4-3 win over the Saints.
There was not much rest for the Saints as they immediately had to play their next match. The team was taking on Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in the consolation bracket. Fatigue was starting to set in for the Saints player and BBN took advantage. #7 Lunsford was able to record his third straight victory, #5 Jack Cross ’23 won his first match of the tournament 3-1, and #4 Dugdale won again. The top three seeds for BBN won their matches, with one match left. #6 Bolno did his best for the Saints, winning the first game and responded after losing the second game to win the third game to take a 2-1 lead. His opponent kept him adjusted and won the next two games giving BBN the 4-3 win over St. Andrew’s.
The final day had the Saints in their last match against Lancaster Country Day School. The Saints were not victorious but captains #1 Atkinson and #7 Lunsford had impressive individual performances. In his last match as a Saint, Atkinson had a “coming of age” performance to win 3-0. Lunsford won 3-1 to give him a perfect record throughout the tournament.
The first day for the Saints saw a lot of success. They were the #4 seed taking on the #13 seed, New Haven. The team admitted to feeling some nerves before the first match, but those went away when #1 Bridget Schutt ’23 set the tone winning her match 3-0. The team followed her with victories from #2 Allaire Berl ’22 (3-1), #3 El Richards ’22 (3-0), #4 Emily Murphy ’22 (3-1), #5 Micayla Kates ’22 (3-1), and #7 Pat Lunsford ’22 (3-1) to win 6-1 and move on to the next round.
On the second day, the Saints found themselves up against an upset minded #12 Harriton-Lower Merion who had taken out the #5 seed in the bracket. Things looked good as #1 Schutt won her match 3-0 but HLM was not deterred. The teams split the next two matches with #2 Berl playing tough but losing 1-3 and then #3 Richards winning 3-1. The Saint dropped the next two matches to be in a 2-3 deficit going into the final two matches. In a back and forth battle, #5 Kates won her first game, needing extra time and was able to go up 2-1 after the third match. Her HLM opponent was able to win the fourth game and after a close fifth game, was able to beat Kates giving HLM the victory. #7 Lunsford, who became the surprise of the tournament, played a beautiful competitive match to win 3-2.
In the consolation bracket, the Saints found themselves against the #1 seed Rye, who had also suffered an upset loss earlier that day. Rye was none too pleased with their loss and seemed possessed to win this matchup. The Saints dropped the match 2-5 but had dominating wins 3-0 from #2 Berl and #4 Murphy.
The three days were catching up with the Saints as they entered their final match on Sunday. Fatigue was taking its toll and the Nichols School took advantage and won 5-2. The individual highlight came from #5 Kates, who had a knack for finding herself in close matches all tournament. She went up 2-0 and seemed to be on her way to a 3-0 win but her opponent had other ideas, winning the next two matches forcing a final deciding game. After losing a close match the day before, she had quickly learned how to be resilient in the face of adversity. Kates was able to focus on her game plan and won the final game to win the match 3-2.
Overall Coach Millman was pleased and felt it was a good return to Nationals and experience for the St. Andrew’s squash programs. He also wanted to thank the people that made the program happen this year. His wife, Coach Pat Millman whose infectious drive and enthusiasm was absorbed and returned by the team. Dean of Student Life Will Robinson who was the glue and stuck by the program for the entire season. To the incredible and supportive parents - who added the ‘soupcon’ of ‘je ne sais quoi’ that every team needs from their family and supporters. And finally to all at St Andrew’s who contribute to the culture of caring that allows us to form such strong and deep bonds.
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