Girls varsity tennis team looks to make deep playoff run

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Senior Allie Linder prepares to return a serve in a match against Garden City. The Vikings went on to win 5-2. The current team record is 6-2, second in the conference.

Aaron Brezel, Editor-in-Chief

On an overcast Wednesday afternoon almost one year ago, the Port Washington girls tennis team lost to Syosset in the Nassau County Conference 1 Finals.  For the second year in a row, the Vikings squad had to settle for second place, with a 5-2 loss and several well-fought matches.  Syosset celebrated their 4th straight Nassau County and Long Island Championship.

“This loss was particularly painful because we felt like we were on the cusp of winning it all,” said then junior Lauren Livingston.

Flash forward to the present.  The Syosset Braves have lost many of their top players and are no longer the kings of the court.  On the other hand, Schreiber has retained eight starters, giving them a chance to make a decisive run at the Long Island Championship.

With the power vacuum left behind by Syosset’s fall from dominance, the top four teams in the conference are now jockeying for the top seed.

“All four top teams are beating each other by 4-3 scores,” said Head Coach Stan Makover.  “This year is a very unique situation because there is no dominant team.”

To the uninformed, a “game” against another school is made up of seven matches: three singles matches and four doubles matches.

Each match is comprised of the best of three sets with “no ad” scoring, and if the competitors split sets, then there is a seven-point tiebreaker to determine the winner.

With “no ad” scoring, there are no multiple chances to win a game—each game outcome is determined swiftly by the winner of the ad point after a deuce.

“What makes high school tennis so exciting is that it is a team sport,” said first singles and senior standout Allie Linder.  “Every position, whether it be first singles or fourth doubles, is equally important.  Every win counts, even if you’re playing at 7:00 in the evening and you can hardly see that yellow ball.”

Now, halfway through the regular season, Schreiber currently sits in second place with a record of 5-2, one match behind Manhasset (6-1).

Syosset and Jericho follow, tied with a record of 4-3.  Barring unforeseen injuries, the Lady Vikings are playoff contenders.  However, once in the playoffs, anything is possible.

This year’s team, compared to last season’s, has the needed depth and experience, with wins coming from both doubles and singles.

“We have at least four matches that we can win on any given day,” said Livingston.

Linder, who is in the first singles “hot seat,” playing the top girl on each team, has an individual record of 4-3.

Livingston and Junior Sarah Seeman, second singles and third singles, respectively, both have 6-1 records, a testament to the depth Port has in the singles position.

Veteran seniors Liz Kallenberg and Astrid Philipson and new pairing sophomores Emma Rosenberg and Sydney Levy make up the first two doubles slots. Both of these pairs  have 5-2 records.

Success in most high school sports is cyclical.  Teams go through periods of dominance that typically last two to four years.  With six seniors on the team, 2013 it is now a make-it or break it year for the Lady Vikings.  Syosset is no longer a constant threat, which only increases Port’s chances of clinching their first Long Island Championship since 2008, when Kristen Norton, who moved on to play first singles on the Harvard tennis team, took the lead.

“In the five years I’ve been on the team, we have always had a strong team, but this year the door is open and we need to seize the opportunity,” said Livingston.

Stats are as of Monday Sept. 30.