Girls Tennis Season Recap

An insight to the team’s 12-5-1 run


Seniors Kaity Kim, Danielle Mimeles, Clare Buckley, and Melanie Sparhawk

After a rocky start to the season and a sad parting with last year’s seniors, the girl’s tennis team bounced back to claim victories against tough competition such as Ramapo, IHA, and River Dell. The team faced some difficult challenges early on, but that didn’t stop them from improving their team dynamic and securing a 12-5-1 record.

The beginning of the season was mostly an adjustment period for the girls, as they struggled to find their rhythm as a cooperative unit again. First doubles senior Clare Buckley explained, “We had a lot of graduates this past year (we lost four seniors), so we knew this was going to be a year for rebuilding.”  

First singles senior Melanie Sparhawk elaborated, “Last year, we all knew each other’s playing styles.” This year, the team had to learn the styles of the underclassmen who moved up to varsity, which prolonged the initial team bonding and adjustment period. “It was really hard to bounce back from that in the beginning,” Sparhawk added.  

Shortly after tough losses to Northern Highlands, Holy Angels, and Ridgewood, senior captains Buckley and Sparhawk stepped up to the plate and assumed leadership roles. Buckley explained that it was “weird” for her to embrace her seniority in the beginning of the season since she “always felt like one of the younger ones” on the team. She recounted her mentality on how to improve the team dynamic, “We kind of have to take control and be the older ones who lead the underclassmen.”

The girls also had to start their preseason early in order to get to know Manoukian. Senior Kaity Kim explained, “In July, we went to Coach’s tennis club in Park Ridge where she gave us each private lessons.” Learning the players’ styles early on was Manoukian’s strategy to bond with the team and to start off the season strong. Kim added, “My tennis playing improved a lot there. I became more consistent, and I learned more doubles strategies.”

Manoukian commented on her experience coaching the girls, “They were awesome. We bonded and clicked right away. These girls are so much fun to be with!”

After all of their hard work, the team finished the season with a 12-5-1 record.

Despite the challenges they’ve faced, the girls’ “camaraderie has gotten better this year” according to Sparhawk. “If I had to describe the dynamic among the girls in three words, they would be positive, energetic, and cooperative.”