1st Alumnae vs. Varsity Squash Match

The first varsity versus Alumna Match at Buffalo Seminary was the day before Winter Break began (2016).

Isabelle Schlehr '17, Sports Editor

Introductions for the First Annual Alumnae vs. Varsity Squash Match. Photographed by Michele Goldfarb

Wednesday, December 21, the Varsity Squash team welcomed back previous team members including Betsy Bloom ’08, a member the first squash team at Buffalo Seminary and new assistant coach for the current varsity team.

Every year during Christmas break practices, Coach Phil Barth tells “The Long Christmas Dinner Story.” It is a story of a family at Christmas time. There is a long dining room table. On the left, people come in to the dining room. On the right, people go out of the dining room. This goes through several generations of the family. This symbolizes the people coming in on the left side are either being born in or married into the family. These people are new additions to the family.

Kendyl Kratzer ’16 warming up against Kaitlin Hughes ’16. Photographed by Michele Goldfarb

Going out the right side are people who have passed away. But, the key to the story is that the table never replaces the people who have left because they are always apart of the family. So the table gets bigger and bigger and the dinner gets longer and longer. This is an analogy between the Long Christmas Dinner and the SEM squash team. The team gets bigger and bigger. It never gets smaller because we keep adding people. People come as freshmen, graduate as seniors and they are still apart of the team when they are gone.

While alumnae and varsity girls warmed up, Coach Barth created the alumnae latter. The 10 returning players were put in order with the best player at number 1 beginning with Kaitlin Hughes ’16. Some of the players on the alumnae latter are currently playing in college or played in college. Kaitlin Hughes ’16 is playing for Georgetown University, Kendyl Kratzer’16 plays for Franklin and Marshall College, and Paige Gannon ’14 is currently on the St. Lawrence club team but during her freshman and sophomore year played varsity.

Normally matches are played best three out of five games but to spare some the alumnae who had not played since their days on the team, these matches were played best two out of three. This reporter, captain Isabelle Schlehr ’17, organized the alumnae tournament. Next year, coach and the current players hope to invite everyone from the Great Christmas Table and make the match a large event.

Katherine Dunbar ’14 warming up against Petra DeRose ’20. Photographed by Michele Goldfarb

The matches began near the bottom of the ladder. Number 12’s started the event off. Anabel Cornacchio ’16 started her first of two matches when she played against freshmen squash newcomer Jenna Pantano ’20. Jenna lost a tough match (11-2, 11-1).

Number 11 began on SEMs second court. Kelsey Waack ’14 played Julia Beck ’20. One of the tough three game matches ensued. Julia won a tough first game (12-10). After the first game, she came back stronger than ever and won (11-6).

Number 10 started their match with Anabel playing again. Anabel Cornacchio ’16 started her second match playing Brooke Pohlman ’18. Brooke lost a tough first game (7-11). Brooke came back and won the next to games (6-11, 4-11).

The next match began with number 9s. Maia Dreishpoon ’19 played Betsy Bloom ’08. Betsy, a player on the first squash team at SEM, said “It was really fun to come back and shake off the cob webs. I clearly have a lot of work to do. It was really a great time for everyone. It was really fun to see squash players of all ages coming together.” Maia won the match (11-3, 11-6).

Mary Curtin ’18, number 8, began playing Paige Gannon ’14. Mary Curtin won the match against Paige (11-5, 11-5).

Number 7s started on the court. Clare von Simson ’17 played her past teammate Katharine Dunbar ’14. Clare, a very spirited player on the varsity team, said “Varsity is destroying the Alumna team. I think it is because our skills are extremely advanced for our age and their bodies are deteriorating as they get older and older.” Though joking at the time, Clare won the match (11-3, 11-7).

Lara Sherris ’17, number 6 on the varsity latter, played her teammate of two years Alexa Rosen ’15. Lara won her match against Alexa (11-8, 11-5).

Alexa Rosen ’15 warming up for the match. Photograph by Michele Goldfarb

Erin Griffis ’19 is the current number 5 on the varsity latter. Erin played Madison Frank ’15. “It is amazing to be back with my squash fam. The Great Christmas table is getting really big,” said Madison. Erin chimed in. “It is a fun time watching the two teams play with some girls no having played in a couple of years.” Erin won the match (11-5, 11-8).

The match between number 4s began. Elizabeth Bassett ’11 scored one of the only Alumna wins against Petra DeRose ’20. The score of the match was 11-6, 11-9. After the big win, Elizabeth said “It was awesome to play Petra because the last time we played she was around eleven years old. She has gotten a lot better. It was also very exciting to see everyone.”

The number 3s began their match. Sarah Obletz ’14 played Rose McDonnell ’18. Rose won the match (11-3, 11-1). Sarah, captain of the team her senior year, showed extreme spirit. “It is a great time to be here. The alumna team is definitely going to kick some butt.”

Cara DeRose ’18 serving to Kaitlin Hughes ’16. Photograph by Isabelle Schlehr

Number 2s were up next. Isabelle Schlehr ’17, author and current captain, played Kendyl Kratzer ’16. Isabelle won her match (11-5, 11-8).

Number 1s were up last with everyone watching! Cara DeRose ’18 played Kaitlin Hughes ’16. Kaitlin was the teams co-captain in the 2015-2016 squash season. Kaitlin said “Everyone is looking good on the court. The new players really added to the team.” Cara won (11-3, 11-0).

Coach Barth and the varsity and alumna girls ended the match after socializing and playing. Everyone is excited to return next year.

Follow SEM Squash on twitter @ Sem_squash.