On the fourth of October, JV Girls Tennis had embarked on one of their last matches of the season to Niskayuna. This match included the top eighteen players accompanied by their coach, Coach Ripepi. Coach Ripepi has been coaching boys JV tennis for twenty-seven years and girls JV Tennis for the last six years. Ripepi believes the JV Girls Tennis features some of the best kids out there, saying, “year after year, my opinion is that I am always working with the kindest kids out there.” With the season rapidly coming to an end, Ripepi say this team is one of the most cooperative teams he has ever worked with. Although, this year they had to cut a great deal of kids, he was happy with his decision because the number of players on last year’s team “was virtually unmanageable.” He believes that the decision to keep only twenty-four kids had “made for a much better season and team.”
Before arriving at Niskayuna, the team as a whole, including Coach Ripepi, was interviewed and asked how they feel about the match. Coach Ripepi responded, “based on the past, we won ninety games to nine games. If history is a guide, it should not be a big problem. Unless in two and a half weeks they had improved.” Katarina Milas and Lakshmi Tumati both said, “we’re going to win because we’re Mad Phat!” The team stayed extraordinarily positive and cheered on each person. Shaker ended up beating Niskayuna 9 matches to 0.
While the matches were going on, a few players were interviewed about how they felt about their experience and their opponent, Niskayuna, the season ending, and how they felt about their teammates and their coach. May Le (Rank #1) describes her opponent as having very well-planned shots and a very strategic player. “I feel good about the season ending, we accomplished a lot and had a lot of wins. My teammates are very unique, funny, kind, and smart, so is our coach! He knows how to make us all have a great time!”
Faith Malo (Rank #13) describes Nisky as a great school with a great team, however, they could work slightly on positivity. Lakshmi Tumati (Rank #2) and Chloe Chae (Rank #10) both agree that Nisky could work a little more on being positive. “They were mad salty and kept calling their points ‘are you sure?’”
With the season ending, Lakshmi describes her teammates and coach as “MAD PHAT!” while Chloe can’t wait for the tennis banquet and next fall when tennis starts again. Katarina Milas (Rank #6) had a very upbeat response describing her teammates and coach. “My teammates are mad chill, and Coach is mad phat!!” She believes that the entire experience at Nisky and the entire season was fun and she just can’t wait for next year.
Yena Sung (Rank #7), unlike her other teammates, is upset that tennis is ending for a different reason. “I feel like we’ve bonded a lot, and also I won’t be able to see my friends as much.” She also feels tennis is a whole new family to her, and how she’s going to be terribly sad when it ends because not everyone in tennis are in her classes. Lily Phelps (Rank #20) agrees with Yena and believes that tennis has always been her passion and Coach had really inspired her and is a great supporter of her and the team.
Justine Hulbert (Rank #9), feels differently than her other teammates. She was straight to the point, “ee were a lot better, and we were a lot tougher than Nisky.” She feels very sad she’s leaving all her teammates, however has a different perspective on Coach Ripepi than everyone else. Saying, “Coach Ripepi is awful! He never fetches us water and is a work-in-progress with emoji-use. But he’s mad-whack so he’s fine.”
Overall, the team believes that this season had been a great opportunity to meet more people, make more friends, and another place to smile. Unlike other sports’ teams, Girls JV Tennis isn’t just a team – they’re a family. Even though the season is coming to an end, the memories and friendships are not. As the Girls JV Tennis team embarks on their last match on Thursday, October 13th against Saratoga, they’re remembering their first friend made at tennis, their first day of practice to the very last.