Game, Set, and Match for the Lady Lobsters

Despite a disappointing end to the season, the Lady Lobsters look forward to next season with optimism.

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By Christina Xia

The Lady Lobsters, Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity tennis team, were served a disappointing playoff exit by the second seeded team, Beacon High School on Friday, October 20. The Lady Lobsters had beat Hunter College High School 3-2 in an earlier playoff match to get them into a second round match against Beacon. It was the second year in a row that the team had lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

The Lady Lobsters entered the playoffs with a regular season record of 6-4, placing them third in their Manhattan A1 division. However, the Lobsters had lost their two matches against the first place team in their division, Beacon, in the regular season 0-5 both times. However, the scores of the individual matches between players grew closer between matches.

At the teams’ first meeting, an away game for the Lady Lobsters, all of the Stuyvesant singles players lost to their opponents 2-8. But the Lady Lobsters learned from their mistakes and worked to increase their number of game points. At their second and third meetings, junior and first singles Celina Liu lost to Beacon’s junior and first singles Kyra Bergmann 5-8, a significant improvement from the duo’s initial meeting. Similarly, Stuyvesant’s first doubles duo, senior and co-captain Karina Irwin and freshman Talia Kahan, went from losing 2-8 in their first match against Beacon’s first doubles, to losing 3-8 in the playoffs against the same team. The Lady Lobsters may have a 0-3 record against Beacon at the end of the season, but at the very least, they were able to make the Beacon girls work for their wins.

Despite the early end to their playoff prospects, the Lady Lobsters have reasons to feel good about their season, as they never lost two games in a row and improved from last year’s 5-7 record. “We weren’t that disappointed because despite us losing, we still played really well. I think that matters more than how far we actually advanced. Also, the team we lost to was incredibly good,” said senior, co-captain, and second singles Marie Ivantechenko, who went 4-2 in her singles matches in the regular season. In the playoffs, Beacon was the second seed, while Stuyvesant was the seventh seed. Beacon later finished as the runner-up of the entire tournament, losing to Brooklyn Technical High School.

Out of the team’s 19 members, six of them are seniors, so the loss of these seniors will be a significant blow to the team’s dynamic lineup. “There are so many seniors this year and it’s just sad to have a final game and know that these five or six people will never play with you again,” sophomore Alyssa Pustilnik said. Pustilnik was a large part of the team’s success and will attempt to fill this void, as she looks to build on this season in which she had a singles record of 7-2.

The team will also look to junior Lily Yan, who earned high praise for her strong performance this past season. “[One of] our second doubles [players], Lily, really stepped up. She’s been on the team since her freshman year, but was a sub until this year. She really improved over the summer, and is actually going to be one of the co-captains for the next season,” Ivantechenko said.

Though the season ended sooner than they would have liked, the Lady Lobsters still have a positive attitude about the season as a whole. “We’re losing a lot of players this year, but the captains are great, and we have a lot of strong players to build a new lineup next year,” Ionkina said. Some of the freshmen have already begun to help the team significantly, such as Kahan and second doubles Palak Srivastava, who had overall records of 6-3 and 6-4, respectively.

In order for the Lady Lobsters to continue their success and increase their chances of beating intense schools like Beacon, the young talent on the team will have to step up to fill the gaps in the lineup left by the seniors.