“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…” – Maria, “The Sound of Music”
After nearly a nine-month offseason, Deerfield’s boys’ thirds squash team has emerged from hibernation. Last year’s team nearly went undefeated, and in a testament to Coach Speer’s leadership, over half of that team chose to play a different sport this winter. Luckily, the few returners have been supplemented by an enthusiastic rookie class, and practices thus far have been high-energy and in good spirits.
This unseasonably warm Wednesday afternoon proved the first test of our mettle against the outside world: the Brookies, one of our two cross-town rivals. Around 1:45, the twelve of us crammed into a van for a short joyride across Route 5/10 and up the hill. We brought an eclectic bunch, to be sure: the lineup was led by three veterans (Tai “Thai” Thongthai, Gideon “Chatterbox” Yektai, and Christian “Bobby Flay” Yiu), and filled out by four newcomers: Justin “Liu” Lui, Taylor “Wheels” Roberts, Charles “Chuck” Shearon, and Nathan “Who?” Hu. Four more rookies filled out the exhibition lineup: Avery “Terence Tao” Reed, Sai “Grumpy” Dulam, Ian “Pumper’s Knee” Gordon, and Protik “The Invisible Man” Nandy.
From the beginning, it was apparent that Eaglebrook’s depth would be difficult to overcome. Our exhibition players, having only played the sport for a few days, were flummoxed by the variety of strategies and shot placement employed by their opponents; all four of the boys put up a good fight, but were unable to take any games. Similar stories plagued the bottom of the lineup: Charles and Taylor fought gamely, but their opponents had answers for everything; despite flashes of brilliance, the two sophomores both went down in three. Nathan got off to a strong start against the swing-for-the-fences Weil, hitting a series of excellent serves to take the first game. Unfortunately, Weil adjusted and played even more aggressively, refusing to allow Nathan to take the offensive. While Nathan scrambled as well as he could, Weil closed him out in four.
The top four met with greater success: Justin, refusing to back down against Kwon, seemed to have the edge, but his serve let him down on a few critical points and the match swung barely in Eaglebrook’s favor. He ceded the court to Christian, who rebounded beautifully after dropping a marathon first game to go up 2-1. Pink was not to be denied, however, as he dug in to take the fourth and rode the momentum to the end. We were saved from a shutout by our top two: Gideon, having joined the team less than 24 hours before, took down Lind with his trademark drive-boast combos, and Tai, playing a friend from Thailand, settled in after a rocky first two games to give us a second win.
In theory, we were only a handful of points from emerging victorious today. We’ll see these guys again in January, and with Carl anchoring the top of our lineup, we should be poised for a stronger performance. For now, we have a lot to work on in practice, and a home fixture with Eagle Hill looms large. So long for now, folks.
Eaglebrook 5, Deerfield 2
Tai Thongthai (Deerfield) d. Srorathaikul (Eaglebrook) 3-11, 16-14, 11-7, 11-7
Gideon Yektai (D) d. Lind (E) 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 11-2
Pink (E) d. Christian Yiu (D) 15-13, 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3
Kwon (E) d. Justin Lui (D) 11-8, 12-10, 12-10
Lee (E) d. Taylor Roberts (D) 11-7, 11-6, 11-0
Koenigsbauer (E) d. Charles Shearon (D) 11-3, 11-4, 11-7
Weil (E) d. Nathan Hu (D) 6-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-6
Graham (E) d. Avery Reed (D) 11-2, 11-5, 11-6
Edwards (E) d. Sai Dulam (D) 11-0, 11-3, 11-4
Craig (E) d. Ian Gordon (D) 11-1, 11-3, 11-4
Douglas (E) d. Protik Nandy (D) 11-3, 11-1, 11-7