Girls Varsity Tennis reflects on first losses of the year

Rani Ogden, Staff Writer

Last Monday, the Girls Varsity Tennis Team competed against Poly Prep in their first game since the start of the pandemic. The team lost with a score of 1-4 at the Andrew Feinberg ‘96 Tennis Center. The team also competed against Hackley on Wednesday, September 22nd and lost with a score of 0-5.

The Poly Prep game had three singles matches and two doubles matches. Diya Chawla (9), Emily Grant (10), and Allison Markman (11) played the singles matches and Jade Ciriello (12) and Bella Colacino (12), and Alexandra Yao (11) and Audrey Moussazadeh (11) played the doubles matches. Doubles players Yao and Moussazadeh were the only ones to win their match.

Despite the loss, several players stood out during their matches. Markman skillfully returned many of the wide shots that she received, and doubles player Moussazadeh had a particularly strong serve, team member Sammy Blackman (12) said.

Despite losing her first set 0-6, Chawla came back stronger and almost took the second set, Girls Varsity Tennis Coach Kenny Burton said. Markman also had a strong comeback during her second set, he said.

Although the team lost, players gained insight on how to improve their play and the team’s skills, Grant said. Grant plans to work on her serve, which she missed during her match, and to practice hitting, she said. She also wants to focus on practicing through matchplay going forward, as the pandemic has prevented the team from playing against others, she said.

When playing, Patel uses intimidation as a strategy by observing the opposing player’s strengths and weaknesses while warming up and chanting loud and enthusiastic cheers with her teammates at the start of the game, she said.

Blackman tries not to get intimidated by anybody during games. Instead, she tries to play with the same confidence in the games as in practice, she said. “It’s really important to stay confident throughout the match, and to not get worked up about any minor things that may go wrong.”

Not being able to play for so long has motivated the players on the court this year, Burton said.  However, the players have still lost substantial play time due to the pandemic. “The girls were robbed of a year,” he said.

Competing in the team’s first game since the start of the pandemic was daunting, Grant said. “It’s been a while since we’ve had matches — the last time I did was in middle school,” she said. “I just have to get back into it.”