The Sabers took the court this weekend at the HEAD U.S. High School Team Squash Championships prepared and poised to Saber the Moment in their first Division II competition and the results were overwhelming! With four match wins by identical 4-3 scores – defeating St. George’s, Andover, Exeter and Hotchkiss – Spence rightfully claimed the crown of Division II Girls’ Champions.
Congratulations to India K. ’19, Chloe P. ’19, Louise W. ’19, Clara L. ’20, Madison Y. ’21, Paloma G. ’22, Annie K. ’22, Ashleigh A. ’23, Bracie A. ’23, Megan L. ’23 and Sophia K. ’23 as well as Head Coach Laura London for bringing home The Spence School’s first national trophy.
Spence Athletics Director Coni Fichera shared the following courtside posts from the weekend competition held at the Westminster School in Simsbury, Conn.
Friday, February 1: The Spence School vs. St. George’s School
Sabers’ Squash Combines Youth and Experience to Claw to a 4-3 Victory and Pounce into Nationals Division II Quarterfinal Round
Throughout her career, senior Louise W. has become known as the master of the five-game match win – never relenting and so often finding a way to outwit and outlast her opponents. Louise took the court for the Sabers on Friday, in the first match of the day after dropping the first game, she stormed back to take a 2-1 game lead. Game four of the best of five was a seesaw marathon 18-20 affair, setting up a dramatic fifth game, where Louise dug in, as she has so many times before, securing the all-important tone-setting victory for Spence. What followed were decisive wins by classmates Chloe P. and freshman Paloma G. In her first Team Nationals experience, eighth-grader Sophia K. secured the crucial fourth game win, propelling the Sabers to their first Division II victory at the prestigious tournament, earning a spot in the quarterfinal round.
Spence will take to the Westminster School courts on Saturday morning vs. Andover, as one of the eight teams remaining in the Division II main draw. The Sabers will look to build upon their historic run, and next look to hunt down a spot in the Division II semifinal round.
Saturday, February 2: The Spence School vs. Andover
Sabers Pounce in US Squash Team High School Nationals Quarterfinal to Advance to Tournament Semifinal TONIGHT!
In true Saber the Moment style, Spence Squash turned in a gritty come-from-behind performance, en route to a thrilling 4-3 victory over Andover in the Division II U.S. Squash Team High School Nationals Quarterfinal.
The road to the comeback was started by the Sabers’ #3, eighth-grader Bracie A., who sent a message with a decisive 3-0 win, and Spence was ready to roar! On the adjacent court, senior Chloe P. posted a 3-0 victory of her own, to even the match at 2-2. Freshman Paloma G. battled her way to a 3-1 victory, again leveling the match, to set up a dramatic and deciding seventh match between the #4 positions on the ladder.
With the order that matches are played (#2, #7, #3, #6, #5, #1, #4) the #4 spot is known to be the pressure spot on the ladder; very often deciding a match. Playing the #4 for the Sabers is eighth-grader Sophia K. For the second time in as many days, the Sabers would now look to #4 to secure the win. Today, all matches had completed, putting all eyes on the match between the #4s!
Sophia raced out to a two-game lead, with her opponent fighting to tie the third and deciding game at 11. With fans on the edge of their seats with every shot, Sophia scored back points for the 13-11 win. The victory sent the crowd into a frenzy and vaulted the Sabers into yet another historic moment: the team’s first appearance in the Division II Nationals Semifinal!
Tonight, the upset-minded Sabers will face off against Phillips Exeter for a spot in the Division II Championship!
Saturday, February 2: The Spence School vs. Phillips Exeter Academy
Sabers’ Squash Pawsome Run to the National Final on Sunday Continues!
The Big Cats simply continued to pawmaze, taking down both Andover and Exeter on Saturday, to advance to Sunday’s Division II Championship vs. Hotchkiss. There is no way the “other game” on Sunday could possibly live up to the dramatic team squash played by the Sabers throughout this tournament. Following their come-from-behind 4-3 Quarterfinal victory over Andover, the team had a whole new set of challenges to face on Saturday evening. A team that has owned the fact they belong in the conversation with the country’s squash elite, Spence has been taking each obstacle head-on and together as a pack. Drawing the late match, the team would need to overcome a court delay for the start of the Semifinal match with Exeter. The seasoned leadership kept the team focused and composed and with the match finally underway, the Sabers continued their signature skilled and scrappy play.
Senior Louise W. and freshman Annie K. played early matches that injected energy into the pavilion, and despite the losses it was clear – the team was not going to back down from their favored opponent.
The Big Cats’ hunt began in earnest with the middle of the ladder doing the damage against the Sabers’ unsuspecting prey. Senior Chloe P. won a physical four-game match to put Spence in the win column, closing the match score to 2-1. After dropping her first game of the match, eighth-grader Bracie A. came out of the break absolutely possessed, reeling off three straight dominant game wins, much to the delight of the True Blue crowd. Freshman Paloma G. played a smart and aggressive match, making short work of her opponent; and just like that, the Sabers were staked to their first match lead of the day, leading 3-2 with two matches to play. When eighth-grader Sophia K. took the court after 9:30 p.m., a hush came over the crowd as the importance of the moment was lost on no one. Racing out to a 2-0 lead, Sophia’s opponent battled back with a win in game three, to extend their match. In a seesaw fourth game, every rally seemed to be a game within a game as the players probed for a weakness. Sophia took a 9-8 lead and finished the match with the poise that comes from playing on the best team you face, sending the team and fans into a raucous celebration and into the Division II Championship match. In the final match of the night, on court well after 10 p.m., eighth-grader Ashleigh A. battled before her giddy teammates, secure with the knowledge the team would be playing for hardware on Sunday.
There are two teams remaining in Sunday’s Championship finale – Hotchkiss and Spence – and there is one certainty: there is power in the PACK!
Sunday, February 3: The Spence School vs. Hotchkiss School
On Sunday, the Sabers’ Squash Team took to Courts 5 and 6 as the underdog on paper, as they had all weekend at the Westminster Squash Pavilion. Through their focus and preparation they seemed completely immune to the start time delay, and instead chose to use the time to concentrate on their singular and unified goal – Bring Home the National Championship title! The Division II’s #4 seeded Sabers had a secret weapon – they BELIEVED!!! Not wished, not hoped, but the belief that comes from preparation and a deep trust in your teammates and coaches that the Sabers themselves were indeed the best team they would face in the tournament.
As senior Louise W. took the court vs. her opponent from Hotchkiss, she flipped her five-game script; in a blink of an eye, she powered her way to a dominant three-game victory and the Pack was off and running, the tone was set. WE BELIEVE!
Hotchkiss was certainly not going to go quietly and the Sabers dropped the next two games. The team was trailing 1-2 in the match when youngsters Paloma G. and Bracie A. took the court, prepared to go to work and do the job for their team. Each fought through push-back from their opponents, but the Sabers would not be denied! Perfect effort was rewarded, with each dispatching their opponents, staking Spence to a 3-2 lead, with two matches remaining and bringing up eighth-grader Sophia K., with history on the horizon. Sophia’s ability to change pace and hit finesse shots kept her opponent off balance and kept her in control of the match. With championship point approaching, there was a hush over the crowd making the eruption of noise on the game-ending point deafening!
The Sabers hunted down their place in school history, Sabering the Moment and capturing the 2019 HEAD U.S. High School Team Squash Division II Girls’ Championship.
They Believed…So Do WE!!!
Congratulations to the Sabers!!!