Manhasset Girls’ Tennis Victory Over Friends Academy


Courtesy of @nytennismag on Instagram.

Christine Yoon, Contributing Writer, Editor-in-chief

          After receiving various forms of encouragement and accolades from team captains, fellow team members, and parents, the Manhasset Girls’ Tennis Team finally faced its biggest competition: Friends Academy.

          The first time Manhasset had faced Friends Academy, the Manhasset Girls’ tennis team was undefeated in its previous 27 matches, including the second half of the Fall 2014 season, the entire Fall 2015 season, and the matches leading up to the Friends match in the Fall 2016 season. Manhasset Girls’ Tennis was a reigning champion, two-time winners of the Nassau County Champions’ crown, known as the “best” team in Nassau County. The girls were excited and confident for their last match of the first half of the season, ready to finish and tie up another victory.
          That day, Friends Academy swept the singles and took victories in the second and fourth doubles, facing a narrow defeat in the first doubles match. Friends beat Manhasset, 5-2, and the Manhasset Girls’ Tennis Team was speechless.
          From that day, the Manhasset Girls’ Tennis Team excused the match as a wake-up call, that the desired “three-peat” of the Nassau County Champions victory was not going to come easily. Senior captains urged their fellow tennis players to focus to try to make Manhasset history with the “three-peat”. Team members encouraged each other, understanding the importance of the “three-peat”, since otherwise it would probably be a while before the “three-peat” would be possible again. Parents, in with the excitement, emailed encouragement and inspirational quotes to the team members.
          Finishing up an undefeated second half of the season, Friends Academy faced Manhasset in its ultimate match before Nassau County playoffs. Before the match, the Manhasset Girls’ Tennis Team made a circle on the top court, donning pink shirts for breast cancer awareness, and members told each other words of inspiration, motivation, and encouragement with gravity and sincerity. Outside of school, grades, tests, and friends, the tennis players had another priority, at the time their most important priority, for their family members, for their friends, for Coach Cuneo, and for Manhasset High School: to play their best tennis and to make sure to leave the court sweaty and without regrets. Captain Lia Frankis added, “Have fun while you play,” as the girls felt an unfamiliar pressure as contributing members to Manhasset pride. Captain Kyleigh Harmon ensured, “I have full faith in you guys.” The team yelled its school cheer before disassembling to face its opponent, Friends Academy, in home territory.
          After the third doubles won their match in two quick sets, the second doubles entered their court, facing the same Friends Academy doubles they had lost to previously. They had a new determination to win as well as a desire to end the regular season with a victory. Losing the first set 2-4, the Manhasset second doubles gained momentum and finally won the set 6-4. The night sky came over, however, and the bright courtside lights were turned on. Come the second set, while Manhasset second doubles were losing 0-2, the entire Manhasset and Friends Academy tennis teams, the coaches, and the members’ parents, sitting separately in two distinct groups, watched the second doubles match that would determine the school winner. Manhasset and Friends Academy were at 3-3, with Manhasset victorious in the first, third, and fourth doubles and Friends Academy winning their three singles matches. The tide turned as Manhasset second doubles won the next set 6-3, the final deuce point at 5-3 won when the Friends doubles player double-faulted.
          The Manhasset Girls’ Tennis Team exploded in cheers, embracing each other excitedly, running on to the court to high-five and hug the second doubles, thrilled to announce that Manhasset had just defeated Friends Academy in the last match of the regular season. The girls had overcome their biggest opponent, and are ready to face their next opponent on Monday, October 17, the undefeated champion of Conference IIIA, Massapequa, to begin their personal journey in the Nassau County Girls’ Tennis Championships.