The RHS girls’ tennis team started the season off on its home courts with a 4-3 win over Rye Neck. The teams were tied at 3, leaving it up to the 4th doubles team of Kristen McHugh and Lucia Feliana. In a rain-drenched match that was moments away from being called, Rye pulled it off 10-8 in a tiebreaker against Rye Neck’s senior captains Whitney Spiegel and Lauren Mastoloni.
By Melanie Cane
The RHS girls’ tennis team started the season off on its home courts with a 4-3 win over Rye Neck on Tuesday.
The teams were tied at 3, leaving it up to the 4th doubles team of Kristen McHugh and Lucia Feliana. In a rain-drenched match that was moments away from being called, Rye pulled it off 10-8 in a tiebreaker against Rye Neck’s senior captains Whitney Spiegel and Lauren Mastoloni.
The 4th doubles played a 10-game pro set and when it was tied at 9-9, they went to a 10-point tiebreaker. Rye was up 6-1 and Rye Neck came back to trail only 8-7, but lost in a thriller 10-8.
Rye Neck’s No. 1 singles player, sophomore Ekim Buyuk, topped Rye’s Senior tri-captain Ali Sims 6-1, 6-1. Buyuk said the match was “Pretty intense and every point was really long.” This is Buyuk’s third year playing 1st singles on Varsity and she has never lost a set. She said what makes her so tough is her consistency which she attributes to the fact that she plays tennis nearly 20 hours a week year around. Rye’s coach, Tony Campbell, said Buyuk is an especially tough opponent for Ali, who works off the pace of her opponents.
Rye’s No. 2 singles player, senior tri-captain Emma Jennings, lost to Rye Neck’s sophomore Diana King, 1-6, 1-6. King, whose main sport is softball, said it was weird playing a real match after only playing practice matches for so long and that despite the lopsided score, “Emma played very well and I had to fight hard for every point.”
Rye’s 3rd singles player, Alanna Morque, beat Rye Neck senior captain Carissa Fernandez, 6-2, 6-2. Coach Campbell said Morque is a strong player and that she and Jennings are interchangeable for the 2nd and 3rd singles spot.
Rye’s first doubles team, senior tri-captain Paola Peraza and sophomore Chloe Jennings (3rd and 4th doubles last year, respectively) topped Rye Neck’s Grace Sundstron and Chisa Kakegawa 7-5,6-1. Rye’s second doubles team, Farah Kueleers and Caley Carlisle, beat Rye Neck’s senior captains, Alyssa Vinzons and Sara Wright 6-0, 6-7, 10-6. In their first high school match, Rye Neck’s 3rd doubles team, comprised of seventh grader Alana Proudian (her uncle is pro player Doug Proudian) and freshman Carly Merrill topped Rye’s Momo Youhida and Karina Armstrong, 6-4, 6-2.
Rye Neck Coach Mark Canno thought it was a great match, and the level of play was very high for both teams for the first match of the year. “The singles matches were not that close but had some great rallies. The doubles matches were all very competitive and well played. I wish we had won, but the tough match will help us when we start league matches next week.”
Coach Campbell was thrilled to get the win even though Rye Neck is no longer in the same league as Rye. “After losing five of our top players to graduation this year, I thought we might have a lot more trouble than we did. Winning is always nice, and it’s especially rewarding to win our first match of the season.”