Girls tennis has success in playoffs, reaches out to community

Girls+tennis+has+success+in+playoffs%2C+reaches+out+to+community

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Senior captain Emily de Reyna, and juniors Annie Kline and Sydney Levy (left to right), give pointers to young Port Washington tennis players at the Schreiber courts on Sept. 27 during a free clinic.

Eric Fishbin, Sports Editor

Heading into the season with low expectations and a new coach, the girls tennis team surprised not only itself, but also other teams in its division this season.
“We lost seven out of eleven of last year’s lineup so it was a completely new, very young team,” said junior Emma Rosenberg. “Because of that, expectations were pretty low going in, but we exceeded everyone’s expectations by coming in third in Conference 1 and making it to the semifinals of the playoffs.”
Playing at the top level of competition in Conference 1, the Vikings surpassed their hopes, and made a playoff push this season. 
Competing with a young team with four underclassmen including an eighth grader, the Vikings were proud of their accomplishments.  Beating top teams and making a playoff push, the team made the new head coach Mr. Shane Helfner proud.
“This season has far exceeded many people’s expectations,” said Coach Helfner.  “We were supposed to have a ‘rebuilding year’ after graduating seven or eight starters last year.  I think no one expected much from us this year, including not making the playoffs.  But this team finished third in a very tough conference 1 and even defeated the top seed Manhasset and the second place team Roslyn during the season.  We were the only team to defeat each team in the conference.”
With a young team, expectations for the future are high. 
“We had only two seniors in our starting lineup this season so next year won’t be as drastic of a difference, even though one of those starters was our first singles player, Sarah Seeman,” said Rosenberg.  “There was an eighth grader, two freshmen and two sophomores in our lineup, so they have a few more years on the team and it should get stronger and stronger each year.”
Although the team’s main goal was to perform well on the courts, it also focused on smaller aspirations, such as being philanthropic.
The girls hosted a free clinic for young athletes in Port.
They are also set to host a Breast Cancer Awareness Play the Teachers Tournament on Nov. 3. 
For this tournament, the girls were asked to find a teacher, form a doubles team, and play a tournament for a worthy cause.  All of the proceeds from this event will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
“There will be raffles, friendly competition, and lots of fun.” said Rosenberg. “Students, faculty and the community should come out to cheer on theirfavorite teachers and support breast cancer!”
The event will take place at he Schreiber tennis courts at 3:30.
In the playoffs, the girls fell to Roslyn 4-3 in the Nassau Team semifinals.  The match came down to a third set in the second singles match, but the Vikings were eliminated. 
Despite the loss at its end, this season displays what the team has in store for the future.  Coach Helfner is ready for the journey.
“I am so very proud of my girls for an incredible season and keeping Port Washington tennis at the top of Nassau County,” said Helfner.  “These girls worked hard and really came together as a team and family.  Port Washington tennis continues to be a powerhouse in Nassau County and will be for years to come!”
Not only is coach Helfner optimistic, the departing seniors are too.  
“We have a very young team,” said senior Sarah Seeman.  “We are losing our first singles player and our third doubles player, but the underclassmen are hungry to improve and try to come back to win the county championship next year,” said Seeman.
The leaving seniors have influenced the younger Vikings set them on the path for success in the future.  
“The leadership was great, the seniors were captains and always kept the spirit up,” said junior Blake Dolin.