‘A sense of family and unity’: Middle school tennis swings into new season

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Photo credit: Sydney Azar

Purple team player Phoebe Miro (’28) throws the ball into the air to prepare for her next serve at the team’s first match where they won 4-2 against Geffen. The middle school tennis team consists of new players and spirits that will foster friendships and improve the team’s playing and community. “It’s not necessarily about winning,” green team player Abby Berman said. “It’s just really fun to be able to play with my friends.”

By Maia Alvarez, Multimedia Editor

After a year of masking and social distancing, the middle school tennis team has served up a line-up to best the competition. Since March 2020, middle school tennis hasn’t stepped onto a court or played a match in order to uphold COVID-19 safety precautions. However, now in their 2022 season, the team is back to playing. 

“It wasn’t anything. You were just on the backfield, like stretches and workouts. That’s it. Not even touching a racket,” seventh grader Abigail Weiner said.

Now, with only one returning member from the 2020 season, the team is full of new athletes. The team is split between a purple and a green team with 12 players per team. Although only nine players get to play in each match, Head Coach Paula Feigenbaum highlighted the importance of team unity.

I think we’ll all be there for each other as we’re all going through the same thing…I’m just looking forward to playing the sport I love and just playing with friends as well. I’m so excited for the journey ”

— Abigail Weiner ('27)

“Our motto is, ‘we start as a team and we finish as a team,’” Feigenbaum said. “Those extra players, they’ll be doing statistics, analyze a player’s serve and return percentages which [are] really helpful to players. Even though they’re not playing, they’re still active and part of the team. They’re still useful and cheering on their teammates.” 

Feigenbaum and Assistant Coach Sydney Streimer practice with the green team on Mondays and Wednesdays, and the purple team practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Given it’s her first Archer tennis season, green team athlete Weiner said she’s excited to experience practices and matches with her new teammates.

“I really wanted to be on the Archer team as [of] last year [but] I couldn’t really do it. So it’s been a really good goal of mine to be on the team and get league experience,” Weiner said. “I’m just excited to meet everybody and I’m excited to see how my tennis will be.”

As the middle school tennis teams are brand new this season, Feigenbaum said assembling good doubles teams and deciding who is better suited as singles players is highly valuable. This process was delayed due to the Night of Dance performance, as some of the team members were performing.

“We’ll do scrimmage matches where we’ll have two girls play doubles against another team and we’ll watch them and observe and see if they’re a good fit,” Feigenbaum said. “Another unique thing [is] we have three lefties, and it’s unusual to have that many girls be a left-hand player. And that’s another way to figure out who’s going to play together because it’s really good to have a lefty.”

Feigenbaum said the players’ strategy is strengthened by having doubles teams containing a left-handed and a right-handed player. As a left-handed player on the purple team, seventh grader Abby Berman said she hopes not only to play with her friends but also to improve her serve during the season. 

“I’m right-handed on everything, but I play tennis left-handed,” Berman said. “I’m trying to improve my serve because I’m not as strong with my left hand as my right hand. I serve left-handed, but it’s a struggle for me. So I’m trying to work on that.” 

With the purple team’s first match on March 8, Feigenbaum said this year’s tennis season will foster “beautiful relationships” within its players.

“I think we have a fantastic group of girls … The new girls, especially the sixth graders, by the end of this season are going to feel a sense of family and unity,” Feigenbaum said. “I think they are going to be happy to be a part of the team.”