Wildcats Top Poly Prep in Final Four of NYSAIS Tournament
Without Losing a Set
By Mitch Silver
Brooklyn’s Poly Prep Boys’ Squash team traveled to Rye February 15 to take on the Wildcats of Rye Country Day School. The 7-5 Blue Devils had been steadily improving over the course of the season, but the 15-3 Rye Country Day team was seeded number one in the New York State Association of Independent Schools. And they played like it.
Coming off a 7-0 whitewash of Packer Collegiate Institute two days earlier, Head Coach of the Boys’ team and overall Director of Rye Country Day School Squash Elani Landman fielded a team of one senior, five sophomores, and a freshman. Almost immediately, co-captain Henry Fogel took control of the No. 2 match, winning the first set over Poly’s Dylan Scholz 11-4. He followed that up with wins of 11-7 and 11-8.
Freshman Winn Metrailler won even more easily at No. 5, 11-1, 11-4, 11-1. Sophomore Dylan Masucci was equally fast in taking the exhibition match at No. 8, 11-2, 11-3, 11-3.
The rest of the roster did equally well. Sophomore James Murphy beat Poly Prep’s Ronan Lee in 13 minutes, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5. Alexander Rivas shut out Vivek Laddha 11-4, 11-6, 11-8. Sophomore Chris Mathias was slightly extended by Poly’s only female player, Madeleine Ruggie, 11-4, 12-10, and 11-8. And sophomore Turner Wolf was the last one to finish his match, defeating Luke Gustafson 11-1, 11-7, 11-0.
The most drama that afternoon came in the No. 1 match. After Wildcat senior Ben Mathias easily handled Carlo Caffuzzi, 11-3 and 11-4, Caffuzzi put up much stiffer resistance in the third set, leading Mathias at 10-8 and serving with game point. Mathias pulled himself into a tie and went ahead a couple of times, only to have Caffuzzi even play at 15-all and 16-all.
With both teams packing the viewing area behind the court, Mathias took the final two points and the match, 18-16. Afterwards, the Wildcat acknowledged that he heard his team cheering for him though the glass. “It really picks you up when you know they’re behind you,” Mathias said. “I think stamina is one of my strengths, and I was able to call on a little bit extra there at the end.”
The team travels to The Spence School in Manhattan this Friday to meet Horace Mann for the NYSAIS title. Then, next week, it’s off to the Arlen Spector U.S. Squash Center in Philadelphia to compete at Nationals.