Emily Grant (11) and Allison Markman (12) win NYSAIS

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Clara Stevanovic , Staff Writer

Last weekend, doubles pair Allison Markman (12) and Emily Grant (11) on the Girls Varsity Tennis team (GVT) won the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) tournament.

The tournament lasted three days. On Friday November 11, Markman and Grant advanced after their first match against Poly Prep. That Sunday, they beat Dalton, then won their final match against Hackley last Monday.

GVT was one of eight teams from New York that qualified for NYSAIS. Twelve teams from the NYSAIS league applied for the tournament in total. The eight teams that qualified were chosen to participate in NYSAIS based on their rankings in the league.   

Markman and Grant were the only doubles pair from the school that volunteered to play at NYSAIS. “At the beginning of the season, Emily and I definitely wanted to win, so we had every intention of going to the tournament,” Markman said. The other athletes that they played were just as competitive and serious about winning, she said.

To prepare for NYSAIS, Markman and Grant practiced with other players on the team and worked on drills, Troop said.

At their match against Poly Prep, Markman and Grant were initially nervous because they lost to them the week before. “They’re really well coached, and had some very interesting strategies,” Grant said. 

Markman attributes their success in the match to strong communication and a positive attitude, she said. 

Beating Poly Prep and Dalton were major highlights for the pair because they had lost to those exact teams earlier in the season, Markman said. “Getting to replay those matches was really nice,” she said. 

Only the athletes playing at NYSAIS, not the entire team, went to the first two rounds of the tournament, which made the atmosphere at Markman and Grant’s first two matches quieter than usual. “Usually, our entire team is there cheering everyone on,” Markman said.

While it helps to hear the encouragement of her teammates, Markman was able to better concentrate on playing during the pair’s first two NYSAIS matches. “[NYSAIS] is an individual competition, and your results aren’t dependent on the rest of your team. Normally, if we lost, we knew that we would be hurting the team, but during NYSAIS we were able to be looser and less stressed,” Markman said. 

At the tournament finals against Hackley, the rest of GVT came to support Markman and Grant. “Their cheering definitely kept us motivated throughout that last match, especially because it was so close,” Markman said.

The score of the final match was 7-6, 7-6, meaning that Markman and Grant won by a tiebreak during each set. “The games really came down to what the opposing doubles pair’s strengths and weaknesses were, and our strategies,” Markman said.

“Even when [Markman and Grant] tied 6-6 and the match went into a seven point tiebreaker, they never lost their cool,” Troop said. “They played brilliantly.”

Markman and Grant’s final match against Hackley was challenging for them, but they strategized well, Grant said. “We tried to attack them with volleys because we knew that would help us win,” she said. “Even when we weren’t playing our best tennis, we just had to adapt in order to win.”

After Markman and Grant won the final, their teammates rushed to congratulate them, Markman said. “They all stormed onto the court and gave us a big hug,” she said.

“Seeing Coach Troop after we won was amazing, because he was so excited,” Grant said. “Before the match, Coach Troop told us that he wouldn’t miss it for the world, and it was so sweet.”

For seniors on the team, NYSAIS was their last match. “It was really upsetting, but obviously, I was also very happy because we won,” Markman said.

“I’m very proud of the kids this year,” Troop said.