After being rained out against Horace Mann the last two years, the Scarsdale girls tennis team finally got to face off against one of the best competitors they see each fall. While the Raiders improved to 8-0 with a win, Horace Mann did something no other team had done against Scarsdale this season, taking a match against the Raiders.
After seven straight 7-0 shutout wins, Scarsdale took the overall 6-1, with Horace Mann winning the first singles match.
“Horace Mann I think is our toughest competition,” coach Jennifer Roane said. “We very rarely beat them 6-1. It’s 5-2 or 4-3. Or 3-4. I’ve had a few 2-5s.”
The idea is to challenge the team as much as possible. “I’m glad we play teams like Horace Mann,” Roane said. “You can only get better when you play better teams. That’s my philosophy. I’m proud of the kids and we only have four more matches and then we get right into postseason.”
For Roane, a team win is a team win, especially against good opposition. She knew no one wanted to be the first to lose, which added unnecessary pressure as the streak went on deeper into the season.
“We knew that 7-0, 6-1 or whatever score we win by is a win or if we lose we lose,” freshman Maggie Maronilla said. “Coach Roane said 7-0 is just a bonus. There’s really no pressure because you’re a team and you support each other no matter what.”
Junior first singles player Zoe Tucker lost her first match of the season, falling 6-2, 6-1 to Sofia Allinson. Tucker will be challenged as the season goes on, so Roane believes this will only help her improve.
“She’s going to reflect on this match and learn from it and not make some of the same mistakes,” Roane said. “She should have given her some junk balls, brought her into the net. Instead Zoe was trying to overpower her. The girl wasn’t hitting winners — Zoe was making a lot of unforced errors. Things like that, she’s got to find a happy balance.”
In the previous match Tucker topped Fox Lane’s Leah Tuluca 6-4, 6-2, having taken a third set tiebreaker to win the first time around, so Roane is excited about that progress and some tough matches ahead like against Harrison’s Deana Giambo.
“She’s going to have a tough match against Deana, so the mental part of the game is what we need to work on with her because she had a little run-in with some calls the last time she played Deanna,” Roane said.
The doubles teams had to step up, too, with four of the eight sets being 6-3 or 6-4. At second doubles, junior Meagan Niu and Maronilla won 6-1, 6-3 to continue their hot streak.
Maronilla had played some Empire Cup doubles with Natalie Hu, a fellow freshman and second singles player, but is a new pairing with Niu this fall. Like most high school tennis players, it’s Maronilla’s first team experience with the sport.
“I’ve played on soccer teams and I’ve done dancing,” Maronilla said. “The tennis team was very welcoming and the first match we played I was really nervous, but we won 7-0. It really feels nice when you enter the court and walk out with your whole team there.”
Niu and Maronilla have come a long way in a short time. In addition to moving from third doubles to second doubles, they have improved their communication and strategy.
“Facing any good opponent you can really make sure you’re working well as a team and it’s always good because you learn more about yourself and what you need to work on,” Niu said. “It’s better to be able to adapt to different situations.”
The Raiders are doing just that and with their imperfect perfect season continuing, the girls are focusing on one point at a time knowing that a win is a win no matter what the final score.