- This is Poly
by Carly Pyles ’22, Editor-in-Chief of The Polygon
For the first time in years, the Girls’ Varsity Tennis Team made their way to the Ivy Prep League Championship match after finishing an incredible regular season with a 7-1 record. Led by coaches Jeff Amurao and Shweta Rana, the team packed their bags and headed up to Tarrytown to face Hackley on Wednesday, October 27.
The team was well-prepared for this undertaking after practicing each afternoon and occasionally in the mornings, before school. The girls enjoyed an almost undefeated season, aside from an unfortunate early season loss against Hackley. Despite the daunting match-up, the coaches and team were up to the challenge and ready to take on Hackley again, this time fighting for the league title.
When the girls arrived that Wednesday, they prepared for what would be a long fight ahead of them. After warm-ups and some pre-match words of encouragement, the starting line-up was called, including freshman Holyn Karp at first singles, senior Bella Saul at second singles, junior Mia Edwards at third singles, seniors and Captains Carly Pyles and Francesca Corsalini at first doubles, and sophomore/eighth grader duo Violet Taub and Lila Daniels at second doubles. (The reporter of this piece is a co-captain of the tennis team.) Team members Georgia Horan, Reese Roaman, Anjali Budhram, Mykah Lieberthal, and Aishwarya Malhotra were in attendance, cheering on their fellow teammates courtside.
The matches started at 4 p.m., and so began the fight to the finish line for the Poly Girls’ Tennis Team. The first three matches to come off the court were second singles, third singles, and second doubles, with an impressive 6-1, 6-1 win from Saul. However, the sun rapidly set around 6 p.m., with first singles and first doubles still battling it out on the court. Since the players were soon unable to see the ball, team officials called it a night, announcing that Poly would travel to Hackley the next day to determine the championship.
Under a skyrocketing amount of pressure, the girls packed their bags, yet again, and headed up to Tarrytown for the second time. Poly needed wins in both first singles and first doubles to claim the title. Both matches picked up from their third set on Thursday, October 28. The rest of the team watched each nerve-racking point from the sidelines, cheering on Karp, Pyles, and Corsalini.
Picking up from the start of her third set after having just split at the end of Wednesday night, freshman powerhouse Karp certainly came to play, defeating her opponent 6-4, 5-7, 6-0. However, Captains Pyles and Corsalini played an extremely close match, coming up just short in their third set with a final score of 5-7, 7-5, 2-6.
While the outcome wasn’t what the team had hoped for, the girls gathered in a team huddle to congratulate everyone on an unbelievable season. Players took turns speaking, many fighting through tears, not because they lost the match, but because they had to say goodbye to the team that they loved. While this was only a temporary farewell for most players, seniors Saul, Pyles, and Corsalini waved goodbye to the tennis team for their final time.
“I think that our team was like a family,” Horan said. “We have a stronger bond than any team that I’ve ever seen, and it showed itself at Hackley. Everyone was nervous about the match, but we were all there for each other, no matter what. We truly left everything on those courts and I’m so happy with all the work that we have done.”
Malhotra added, “We walked into every match supporting each other and cheering each other on, and we left the match with the same spirit no matter what the outcome was. I know that half the team damaged their vocal cords after the finals. Whether we won or we lost, we kept up high spirits for the next match every time.”
Following the championship match, three members of the team—singles player Karp and doubles team Edwards and Pyles—qualified for the NYSAIS Tournament as the third and fourth seeds, respectively. Both singles and doubles advanced to the semifinals after winning in the quarterfinals on Monday, November 1.
Update: The 2021 Ivy Prep League runner up Poly Prep Girls’ Tennis Team concluded an outstanding season with singles and doubles NYSAIS representatives falling in the semifinals of the postseason tournament.