Lucy Friedman, holding plaque, and her teammates celebrate their team title.
Rye Neck Girls’ Tennis
Panthers Take Conference Crown, Send Lucy Friedman to States
by Mitch Silver
Mark Canno has one of his most successful tennis teams in his 15+ years as head coach of Rye Neck’s tennis team. And junior lefthander Lucy Friedman, fully recovered from an injured hip, is now one of his most successful players. Friedman played her way into the Sectional Semifinals, and won her third-place match to go to the State tournament.
First, the team: After easily winning their League title, the 2019 edition of the Panthers advanced to the finals of Conference play October 11 by sweeping North Salem, 5-0. Co-captain Friedman, playing first singles, and the first doubles team of senior co-captain Sarah Paumier and sophomore Katie Lipman, won their matches without yielding a game.
The next morning, the team took the courts against a strong Briarcliff squad. Paumier and Lipman won in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6. Canno’s second doubles team of sophomore Lily Peterson and freshman Carolina Doherty breezed, 6-0, 6-3. So, the Panthers needed only one victory in singles to take the crown. But they faced a real roadblock on the number one court.
The Bears’ Rebecca Lim took the Section 1 singles title two years ago as a sophomore. Friedman played her on even terms through two sets, dropping the first 6-2 before winning the second set 6-1. The tiebreaker was a hard-fought affair, with Lim coming back to win it and the match, 10-6.
While junior Elona Sebbane had her hands full at third singles, freshman Olivia Tobin shook off her nerves on the number two court and won the first set by 6-2. The final set was a seesaw affair, with Tobin finally prevailing, 7-5, to win her match and the first Conference 3 team title ever for Rye Neck.
In the ensuing Conference singles tournament, Sebbane won her opener by 8-3 over the Valhalla girl. Paumier and Doherty combined to take a three-set nail-biter over a pair from Hastings with an 11-9 tiebreaker win. Katie Lipman and Olivia Tobin, a newly-constituted post-season pairing, won their first match handily as the number four seeds over the team of Raxenberg and Galinsky from Ardsley, 6-1, 6-0. When they went on to defeat a Haldane duo 6-1, 6-4, they qualified for Sectionals.
Meanwhile, third-seeded Lucy Friedman met Edgemont’s Dani Friedman, bageling her in the all-Friedman affair. She next went up by 6-0, 4-1 against Mai Tanaka from Keio—the player who eliminated her teammate Elona Sebbane 24 hours earlier—before the match was suspended due to darkness. She wrapped up the set and the match the following morning, sending her into the Conference singles finals against that Lim girl again.
Even though she lost that match, and Lipman/Tobin fell to Edgemont in their semis, all three Rye Neck players qualified for Section play. The doubles team lost their match, but Friedman shut out Suffern’s Emma Muchick 0 and 0. Then she defeated Fox Lane’s Leah Tuluca, 6-3, 6-0.
Somehow, she had to face top-seeded Rebecca Lim again, and lost, but she pulled her game together to beat a strong Valaine Clarke from Mt. Vernon for third place and an invitation to the State tennis tournament in Latham, New York. Play starts Saturday at 9 a.m.