Swings and wins: Middle school tennis runner-up in PBL finals and Individuals Championships 

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Photo credit: Rajita Patil

The middle school purple tennis team celebrates after finishing as runner-ups at the Pacific Basin League Finals with Head Coach Paula Feignbaum and Assistant Coach Sydney Streimer.  “Wanting to see your teammates succeed, you’re not really focused on yourself,” Sepalla said. “There was a little bit of anxiety surrounding going into the finals because I don’t think anyone had ever done anything like that before. But, when we got there, we knew that our nerves would settle because we were there together. We weren’t on our own.” 

By Maia Alvarez, Staff Reporter

The middle school tennis team took their final swings of the season May 6 and 7 at the Pacific Basin League finals and the Co-ed Individual Championships. A large number of players were interested in middle school tennis and so the team was split between a purple and green team. The purple team represented Archer in the PBL finals and Individual Championships.

Archer played Crossroads School in the league finals, and the team won three out of the six matches played. The team earned second place in the league, losing to Crossroads School in a technicality over the number of total games won within each match.

At the Co-ed Individual Championships, two singles and two doubles teams represented Archer’s middle school tennis. Doubles partners Beyla Patil (’27) and Dylan Schwartz (’28) advanced to the doubles final where, after tying 6-6, they lost in a tiebreak 7-3. The two achieved second place out of the 22 doubles teams who competed.

Tatiana Bojekzco (’26) and Alexandra Laffitte (’26), two singles players, both advanced to the second round. Oona Seppala (’26) and Abigail Weiner (’27), the other doubles team who represented Archer, advanced to the quarterfinals.

When you’re playing doubles, it’s a game of trust with your partner, knowing that your partner has your back and knowing that your partner is going to tell you when to go for something or when to switch on the court.”

— Assistant Coach Sydney Streimer

With tennis gaining popularity during COVID-19 and the players being able to practice during quarantine, Assistant Coach Sydney Streimer said knew the team was filled with strong players from the start.

“We knew it was going to be a really special team from the moment they came out for tryouts,” Streimer said. “Everybody on the team [pulled] their weight and was inclusive with one another, which made this strong bond for our team off the courts but then on the courts as well.”

The team’s captains were Saskia Sommer (’26) and Bojecko. Bojeczko said she prioritized inclusivity to build community within the team and focused on being a role model for the other team members.

“I’m singles number one, and I didn’t win many matches. But I made sure that when I was done with that match, I just let it go and moved on,” Bojeczko said, “I made sure they truly look up to me on seeing how I play, who I am as a person [and] as a good tennis player.”

Throughout the season, Sepalla said players improved their game, connections with teammates and social skills. Patil said she was able to grow as a player physically and mentally thanks to the support of Head Coach Paula Feignbaum and Streimer.

“Tennis is not only a physical game but also a mental game. So I feel like walking in, I didn’t have a very good mental game, and I always was worried about who was watching me,” Patil said. “Throughout the season, I’ve grown because of all the coaches. They’ve helped me get my mental game right.”

A board with the Co-Ed Individuals Championship bracket detailing Beyla Patil and Dylan Schwartz as the runner-ups. Two singles players and two doubles teams from Archer were eligible to compete. “Trust, communication and listening are so important,” Streimer said. “They did a really good job at making that happen in the course of six hours.”

To compete at the Co-Ed Individuals Championships, a player’s record from the entire season is assessed by the coaches to determine which singles and doubles players can best represent a school. Since Patil had a high record, Feigenbaum and Streimer decided to include Patil in the lineup as a doubles player with Schwartz.

“That was the first match we played together, and then we won, but we didn’t know each other’s game very well,” Patil said. “[Then] we leveled up, and we got to the quarterfinals. We definitely understood each other’s game, so we played a lot better. We played a lot more confidently”

In the league finals, games won from all the pro sets, a set that is played to eight games instead of six, were counted to determine the winning team. Crossroads won 39-32 with Archer as the runner-up. To celebrate, Bojekzco and Sommer honored each player with a paper plate award.

“We had the players create an award for another player,” Streimer said. “It was a lot of giggles, a lot of smiles, and a lot of memories at the end of the season, and that was a really nice collective send-off to a wonderful season that we had.”