Girls Varsity Tennis roars to 1-1 start

Talia Winiarsky, Staff Writer

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A viewer standing on the sidelines of last Friday’s Girls Varsity Tennis match against Ethical Culture Fieldston School (ECFS) could hear the powerful smack of first-singles player Sofia Allinson’s (11) serve as it hit the court, and then watched the ball leap back into the air to challenge her opponent.

The match against Fieldston was the team’s first of the season, which they lost with a score of 2-3.

Since it was the opening match, Coach Rawlins Troop had to create a new lineup, he said. The team graduated two seniors last year: Gibby Thomas ’19 and Hannah Long ’19, who played first singles and first doubles, respectively, so Troop had to decide which players would move up to fill the empty spots, he said. “There are new players in the second and third singles spots.”

The players that Troop designates as the top three singles players and the top two doubles partnerships can score points for the team, Amiya Mehrotra (12) said. The other six players play exhibition matches that don’t count toward the final score, she said.

Troop decides which players will play in which bracket by measuring the players’ skills, he said. “What I’ve learned over the years is that the team needs consistency. It’s the kids who can consistently serve first and second serves, and who can consistently stay in a point and be patient,” he said.

The first match of the season offers an opportunity for the teammates to get to know each other better as players, McKayla Widener (12) said. “This season was a big shift for us because we lost two of our best players. We’ve been learning to work with each other, which takes more than just a few practices.”

Last Friday’s roster had Allinson playing first singles, Lita Crichton (11) playing second singles, and Amelia Feiner (12) playing third singles.

Ryu and Agarwal played first doubles against ECFS and won their match 6-1 for both sets, Ryu said.

On the court next to Ryu and Agarwal, Crichton played second singles in a match that lasted two hours. The entire team walked over to watch the final sets of the match, and cheered Crichton on after every point, whether she won or lost.

Crichton appreciated that the team watched her play, because it helped her stay focused despite the stress, she said. “The match, especially the first set, was high pressure because it kept going into deuce, 40-40, and most times I lost that point, which was pretty frustrating for me.”

After the final point of Crichton’s match, the team huddled together, as they did before the match began, preparing to do it all again in just a few days.

On Monday, the team played Convent of the Sacred Heart, and won the match with a score of 5-0, Allinson said.

Because Ryu played second singles instead of first doubles, Bella Colacino (10) stepped up to play doubles with Agarwal, Colacino said. Colacino and Agarwal defeated their opponents with a score of 6-0, 6-2, she said.

Monday’s match was the first time that Colacino played a match that counted in the team’s score, but she had been practicing for that moment, she said. “I try to do the best shots that I can during practice. I channel the same mental thinking when I’m in practice and when I’m in a match.”

Allinson also pretends that she is playing a match when she practices, she said.

Allinson won her match 6-0, 6-1 against Convent of the Sacred Heart’s first singles player, she said.

The team will conclude their eventful week with a match this afternoon against Poly Prep Country Day School.

“I hope we all win our matches on Friday,” Allinson said. But whether they win or not, the team will cheer each other on at the end, she said.