The Bears took a moment to recognize the contributions of two senior co-captains today prior to the match. Chase Gerber is finishing her third season of squash at Berkshire and second on varsity, while Maisie Noesen draws to the end of an amazing four-year varsity stint during which she has played more than 70 matches for the Green and Gray.
As things got underway, the hosts wondered if they had enough firepower to take down the perennially strong visitors. #2 Michaelann Denton '14 and #8 Alexis Rivera '16 fell in straight games at the top and bottom of the ladder, with Denton playing tentatively against a strong opponent and Rivera making too many racquet errors to get to a fourth frame. In the middle of the ladder, the Bears found better purchase. #4 Clementina Davila '14 took the first two and just missed closing things out in the third, eventually falling 11-7 in the fifth when she ran out of gas, due in part to a monstrous head cold. #6 Olivia Silverman '15 had a better fate, coming back from 2-1 down to claim the fourth and fifth games for a quality victory that featured improved volleying and gutsy retrievals.
Needing three matches out of four in the odd round, the Bears got a shot of adrenaline from #7 Allie Brazo '14, who won in a gritty four games. Once #5 Edeline Loh and #1 Noesen fell in straight games, unable to disarm their opponents' shotmaking, Hotchkiss had sealed the win. #3 Gerber took to the court with nothing further to play for except pride, and she rode a tide of support from her father, her teammates and a supportive cast of Berkshire fans. After dropping the first, Gerber roared back to even things in the second, but she didn't have quite enough homecourt magic left to prevail, eventually falling in four.
Coach Kohlhepp was his usual circumspect self as he picked up clipboards and folded chairs. "We played some good squash today," he allowed. "Our effort tonight and last Wednesday against Suffield show that we can compete against the top teams in the B tournament." Asked what the team could improve upon in the last week, he offered two aspects in rapid-fire succession: "Spacing and decision-making. We let the ball get into us too often, and we took a lot of big swings without really thinking about what we were doing."
Berkshire will travel down to Millbrook on Wednesday for one final dual match, then travel east to Pomfret for a 10:00 a.m. tournament start on Saturday.