Written by Tom Gould, Editorial@antonnews.com Wednesday, 30 October 2013 10:59
A year to remember is the only way to describe the tennis season the Oyster Bay Girls’ Varsity Tennis squad just completed.
After finishing undefeated, at 12-0 in their league, the girls defeated Plainedge, on Tuesday, to win the Conference and Division crowns. The match was a thriller, with ninth-grader Michelle Yu, and seventh-grader Juliet D’Aversa winning the deciding contest in a 4-3 win. The other three wins came from 10th-grader first singles Celeste Matute, second singles Courtney Kowalsky who is in the ninth grade, and the third doubles pair of senior Hannah Kulis and sophomore Paige Gunther.
What Matute and Kowalsky were able to accomplish this season was certainly as unprecedented as the team’s undefeated record. The two combined for 27 wins without a defeat, totally dominating the league. What made their performance even more remarkable was the fact that neither came close to even losing a set.
Even though all 17 girls on the team made the experience memorable, credit must be given to the other starters who helped made it all possible, including third singles player, seventh-grader Jessica Layne, the first doubles team of junior Josephine Pinnock and sophomore Adrianne Bifulco, the third doubles duo of senior Hannah Kulis and ninth-grader Paige Gunther, and the fourth doubles team of senior Katarina Bifulco and ninth-grader Ashley Hertlein.
The team’s four captains, Celeste Matute, Courtney Kowalsky, Josephine Pinnock, and Katarina Bifulco, contributed to making the season run smoothly.
Fred Sperber has been coaching the Girls’ Varsity Tennis Team at Oyster Bay High School for four years and has developed quite an impressive record leading up to this unprecedented year.
“When the season got under way, it was clear that I would have to rely on very young players if we were going to be competitive,” said Coach Sperber. “I got more than I asked for from those players, and even more so. Asking a seventh-grader to play third singles is rare since the position requires lots of poise normally expected from a much more experienced player. For the most part, Jessica Layne exceeded my expectations, especially considering she was playing behind two of the best singles players the school has probably ever had. That takes us to my second doubles pair of Michelle Yu and Juliet D’Aversa, the duo that ultimately would win the championship match for us. With scores of spectators watching, cheering every point, Michelle and Juliet demonstrated maturity way beyond their years. “
Since this year’s success will ultimately have Section XI move the team to a higher conference, the coach said, “I’m feeling very confident that we’ll remain highly competitive and truly motivated.”
He also mentioned the fact that Celeste Matute made All County, Division, and Conference while Courtney Kowalskly made All Division and Conference.