Grit, tenacity, leadership and fearlessness! The Sabers had it all going on as they clawed their way back from a 3-2 deficit with win their third title win of the winter season, capturing the NYSAIS Championship with a 4-3 victory.
After a draining semifinal win, the Sabers would need to regroup before taking on rival Saint Ann’s, who was looking to avenge their loss to the Sabers in the AAIS Championship just a few days earlier. The Sabers had other things in mind: gathering for lunch and honoring their seniors put things back into perspective, and the team came out energized and determined as they took the court, in front of a raucous partisan crowd for the season’s finale.
The Championship format had 4 matches being played simultaneously, making for chaos and a cacophony of cheers rising from the midst of the frenetic action. In her final match as a Saber, senior, Louise W. quickly dispatched of her opponent, as did freshman, Paloma G., to post two wins on the board for the Sabers. Saint Ann’s took the 3-2 lead after hard fought matches with freshman, Annie K., senior, Chloe P. and eighth-grader, Ashleigh A. Despite being down 3-2, the Sabers remained their poise and composure. Their trust in the process was evident as eighth-grader, Sophia K. made quick work of her opponent, with high drama taking place on the court directly across the way.
Eighth-grader, Bracie A. and her opponent were very familiar foes. Bracie had dropped the previous two meetings with her opponent in 4 and 5 games, respectively, but in the world of sports there is long held belief – it is very hard to beat anyone three times in a row! Bracie was prepared to Saber The Moment. Every eye in the squash pavilion was trained in on the see-saw affair, and with their match tied at 1-1, Bracie began to apply the pressure, long rallies, chasing down shot after shot and placing the ball in the deep corner and going for aggressive kills. After taking the third game with long and furious rallies, there was a shift in momentum. In the fourth game, the tension continued to build, but the pace of play was decidedly in Bracie’s favor. The bigger the point, the more poised and composed her play. Hitting a beautiful nick to put the championship within reach and then shaking off a call that did not go in her favor, finding her resolve to go on the attack again. With the crowd drawing a collective deep breath, Bracie stayed with her aggressive approach, never taking a moment’s pause…point, game, match and CHAMPIONSHIP! The Sabers and their faithful ROARED with delight! A triple crown effort, by their trademark gritty 4-3 score, and again, with different positions in the line-up stepping up to deliver, when their team needed them the most.
The Sabers finished their season on a remarkable run of 14 straight wins, the team’s last loss coming at the hands of Saint Ann’s on January 14. Included in that improbable run of 14 match wins were four victories by identical 4-3 scores to bring home the US Squash Division II National Championship; a 4-3 victory to collect the program’s first AAIS Squash Championship; and the final 4-3 win of the season in their last match of the 2019 season, to capture the NYSAIS crown.
The Sabers embraced the process, practicing and playing in Brooklyn five days a week, demonstrating the willingness to make personal sacrifices in the best interest of the team goals, overcoming adversity, time and again, taking risks and playing for one another – in short, they are a Team of Champions! Spence may have been the underdog in the brackets, but they were the Big Cats in every other way one can measure a team! The ROAR heard on Championship point will echo for some time to come – the well-earned celebration of season of historic achievement!
Congratulations to the Spence Squash team!!