RHS and Rye Neck Girls’ Tennis: Local Players Develop the Winning Knack

It was a season, and a post-season, to remember for both the Rye and Rye Neck tennis teams. While the Garnets used their depth and consistency to win the regular season Conference III League A title, the Panthers — only 5-9 on the season as a team – sent their top two players deeper into…

Published November 9, 2011 9:38 PM
3 min read

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tennisthumbIt was a season, and a post-season, to remember for both the Rye and Rye Neck tennis teams. While the Garnets used their depth and consistency to win the regular season Conference III League A title, the Panthers — only 5-9 on the season as a team – sent their top two players deeper into the Sectional tournament.

 

By Melanie Cane and Mitch Silver

 

tennisinsIt was a season, and a post-season, to remember for both the Rye and Rye Neck tennis teams. While the Garnets used their depth and consistency to win the regular season Conference III League A title, the Panthers — only 5-9 on the season as a team – sent their top two players deeper into the Sectional tournament.

 

In Conference III play at Harrison October 20, Rye Neck paired their top singles players, ninth graders Ekim Buyuk and Diana King, in doubles. Rye’s Olivia Singer and Molly Jordan had the misfortune of coming up against them in the quarters and lost 6-0, 6-1, in a match that was closer than the score indicates. In the other half of the bracket, Claire Pfister and Jessica Jahnke, 9-1 this season for Rye, took matches from Fox Lane and a tough Byram Hills duo before facing Buyuk and King in the finals, losing 6-0, 6-4.

Jahnke and Pfister said the Rye Neck girls were intimidating in the first set. In the second set, Rye gained a little confidence and began stringing shots together. On the other side of the net, the Panthers said that the key to their success is their friendship and their communication on the court.

When Rye started to play better in the second set, the Panthers duo had to get back to their game to win the set, 6-4.

 

In singles, meanwhile, Garnets sophomore Ali Sims defeated her quarterfinal opponent from Horace Greeley for the third time this season, 6-4, 7-5, but lost in the semis to eventual champion Olivia Lacy-Thompson of Briarcliff, 6-1, 6-4. Casey Berger dropped her quarterfinal match, 6-4, 6-2.

 

Before sending his doubles champs on to Sectionals at Veteran Park in Ardsley October 25, Rye Neck coach Mark Canno looked back over the season. “We jumped up two levels this season. We were 8-0 in the lower league last season, but we were a much better team in 2011, beating larger schools like Harrison and keeping it close against Fox Lane, Rye, and Byram Hills.

 

tennis2inside“I think by defeating Blind Brook we showed we are the second-best small school in Westchester behind Bronxville. Diana King had a strong season going 9-4 at No. 2 singles and Ekim Buyuk had, in my opinion, the best tennis season for anyone at Rye Neck in over 20 years. She was an incredible 13-0 at first singles and won all 26 sets she played.”

 

He continued, “Ekim is 22-0 in her Rye Neck singles career. Her closest match all season was 6-4, 6-2 versus Greeley. She went from the Top 50 in Section 1 to Top 10 , improving more in one year than any player I have seen.”

 

In the Sectionals, Buyuk and King defeated Karissa Armaeda and Kristen Soeder from Nyack 6-0, 6-2 in the first round before dropping a heartbreaker to Sarah Yukelis and Stephanie Banks of Mamaroneck, 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 in the quarterfinals. The match lasted over three hours, with rallies more than 50 strokes long. The final tiebreaker went to 7-5 and came down to the last point.

 

New Rochelle’s Cruz sisters won their opening-round match over Pfister-Jahnke, 6-2, 6-4.

 

In Sectional singles, Bronxville’s eventual finalist, Amanda Austi, took Sims out in the first round, 6-1, 6-0.

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