Girls Varsity Tennis Closes the Season as Two-Time State Champions

Jean Sung

Scarsdale High School tennis players became the state championship winners for two consecutive years on Friday, November 4.

2022 has been an exceptionally successful year for Scarsdale High School sports teams, with the Girls Varsity A Tennis Team being no exception. Adding to their victory at the NYSPHSAA Girls Tennis Team Championship, Scarsdale High School tennis players became the state championship winners for two consecutive years on Friday, November 4. The event took place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the team swept the floor 6-1 in the Semifinals against Bethlehem and 7-0 in the Finals against Port Washington.

Last year, the New York state sanctioned a team tournament at the state level for the first time, with Scarsdale emerging as its first-ever champion. Since winning a state championship title is “something that not that many people get to experience… it is really something that I’ll never forget,” commented team captain Natalie Hu ’23. Both tournaments constituted a memorable experience for every member of the team. “To win it for the first time last year was very special. To win it for the second time was surreal… I think it felt even better the second time,” remarked SHS Physical Education Teacher Jennifer Roane, who has coached the team for 28 years. 

The team attributes the close bond between the members to their successful season. “I think the main thing is that the team has a really good connection both on and off the court,” said Maya Cukierman ’23, another senior captain of the team. The members, regardless of their age, are encouraged and included in the team, making the team bond especially strong. Although the members were nervous about keeping up their victory streak and repeating their state championship win, the team could overcome the pressure because “we’re just there for each other,” explained Hu. 

According to the members, the team made no particular preparations for the state championship, and instead continued with their normal practices after school and captain practices over the weekend. “We wanted to keep it as regular as possible just to suppress the pressure as much as possible,” explained the third team captain Campbell Alin ’23. The captains were confident they could win again if the members ignored the pressure and thus focused their efforts on encouraging their younger members. “We knew that if we were able to play our normal tennis, we would be able to win,” expressed Hu. 

The team faced various obstacles on the day of the tournament, with various members falling sick and sustaining injuries. A notable match was that of Yelena Sahakyan ’23, in which she sprained her ankle after accidentally stepping on a misplaced ball. “At first it was really bad, I could not move, and I genuinely thought I might have broken it,” described Sahakyan. She was advised by all—including her coach, her mom, and the trainer—to rest. “It was the final match, and I knew it was really important…I said, ‘No, I want to play,’” explained Sahakyan.  Despite the pain, Sahakyan and her partner were the winners of their tough match, ending the second set with a 6-4 victory. 

The last match of the season belonged to Hu, who had been undefeated for the four years she had played on the team. With the team having already won the majority of their matches, Hu did not have to win her match for the team to win their state champion title. However, Hu was determined to win her last high school match and eventually won with a score of 7-5. The team rushed onto the court, celebrating their well-earned victory to close the season. “Winning states and storming the court—last year too—is the most amazing feeling. We were all so happy, and we were so happy together,” said Cukierman. 

After their victory at the tournament, the team enjoyed a nice dinner for all the players and their families, where members received certificates and awards for their successes. While it was a happy end to the season, all three senior captains expressed disappointment and low spirits about the season’s end, being that this year was their last at the high school. “It was very bittersweet… I was so disappointed that I was never going to play a high school match again. But at the same time just so overjoyed that we went out the best way possible,” said Cukierman when describing the complex feelings she felt after the championship.

Despite their sadness about leaving the team, the captains expressed confidence in the remaining members to continue their successes. “It would be nice to be undefeated again… but making good memories, and creating an environment that the girls want to have fun in,” noted Roane when discussing her goals for the next season. Sahakyan was chosen alongside Maya Vora ‘24 and Natasha Pereira ’24 to lead the team in the following season. “Without our captains, there’s no way we would have gotten here… so I and the two other juniors have to step up and take their place and lead our team to states, hopefully once again,” remarked Sahakyan. It seems that the three captains of this successful season are sure of the team’s ability to continue their victories, and they along with the rest of Scarsdale High School express the best of luck to the Girl’s Tennis Team for their next season!