JV Girls Tennis 2018-2019 Season
George School vs Princeton Day School—Wednesday, September 12, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
George School @ Perkiomen School—Friday, September 14, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
Junior varsity girls tennis brought their hard work and focus to Pennsburg, PA on Friday, September 14 for their season-opening match against the Perkiomen School, accompanied by Coach Lyman and Team Manager Charlie Castle. Never easy to make that long trip after a day at school, the girls would not be denied and swept Perkiomen with six decisive wins. The following were the match results:
First Singles: Neha Kotha ’22: 6-0; 6-0
Second Singles: Teresa Liang ’22: 6-2; 6-2
Third Singles: Saffron Buscemi ’22: 6-1; 6-0
First Doubles: Neha Thumu ’20 and Winnie Ding ’22: 6-1; 6-2
Second Doubles: Aiknoor Kaur ’20 and Prabhnoor Kaur ’20: 6-0; 6-0
Third Doubles (Exhibition): Jillian Nord ’22 and Emily White ’22: 6-0; 6-2
Match Score 5-0 GS
Congratulations to the players, all of whom showed dedicated hard work during their first week of practice.
George School vs Stuart Country Day School—Monday, September 17, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
George School vs Academy of the New Church—Friday, September 21, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
The JV girls tennis match was rescheduled to be a home match due to the small number of JV players available at ANC. With four players available, the coaches previously agreed ANC would default two matches. Three matches were played: two singles and one doubles match. A pro-set was agreed to be played in each match.
S3: ANC Forfeit
D2: ANC Forfeit
Total Match outcome 5-0 (GS win)
In first singles, Saffron Buscemi ’22 demonstrated her understanding of good shot selection, court awareness, and her improving movement against a competitive opponent who had consistent ground strokes. But Saffron was clearly looking to be the opportunist in the match, taking advantage of opening up the court and making great shots, short and deep, in important points. It’s so great to watch two young players so invested in their match. Well done to both girls! Saffron prevailed 8-4.
In second singles, Neha Kotha ’22 was clearly the more skilled player and to her credit exhibited the utmost FSL sportsmanship, while not allowing the mismatch to distract her. Neha did use the opportunity, as many good players do, to practice shots and scenarios that she’s been working hard on at practices. Neha prevailed 8-0.
In the sole doubles match, Neha Thumu ’20 got a “special thank you” for being a last-minute substitute due to an injury to the scheduled player. Neha and Sonya Song ’20, both seasoned from the prior year and intense practices this year, are typical of a good doubles team: good communication and playing into each other strengths. This match was more competitive than the final score would indicate, it’s just that Neha and Sonya fully embraced our philosophy that big points deserve your best effort, physically and mentally. They were the more opportunistic team on big points and good defense. Great team work, girls! Neha and Sonya prevailed 8-1.
It was nice to meet some parents today, and I'm looking forward to meeting more over the course of the season.
George School vs Peddie School—Saturday, September 22, 2018 @ 1:15 p.m.
JV girls tennis hosted Peddie School on a beautiful, but quite breezy, Saturday afternoon. A total of seven matches were played: three singles and four doubles. GS won four of the seven matches, but with the venue being 3-2 and-1 exhibition, the “match score” was: Peddie 3, George School 2.
Several positive highlights for the team were:
Neha Kotha, playing first singles against a worthy opponent dropped the first set, but then made some important adjustments to the range of her backswing to compensate for the faster pace she was getting and with her own calm, yet focused demeanor earned her the second set. In a very competitive match tiebreak, Neha prevailed 10-5.
Neha Thumu playing third singles, had her signature “slow to start” and both girls were grinding very long points which yielded a set tie score after almost two hours. Due to time constraints, a match tiebreak was played and Neha prevailed 10-5 to earn the victory.
In our “all freshmen” doubles exhibition matches, Dayla and Emily jumped to a fast start in the first set 6-1, awakened the opponent to drop the second set 6-7, then rose to the occasion to take the match tiebreak 10-6, under pressure in front of their teammates, parents, and friends.
Teresa and Jillian also battled through two sets (7-5; 6-2) to seal the fourth victory of the day for the team. Jillian’s sentiment at the end captured the match: “Man, I’m exhausted.”
Clearly, these matches were the first serious competition faced by this young team this season. Their response across the board was commendable. Teaching the girls an underhand serve to be used when the overhead serve is not working, was helpful to reduce double faults. Winning 3 of the 4 matches in a “match tiebreak scenario” was evidence that their practice playing tiebreaks clearly helped them feel comfortable under pressure. Special thanks to team managers Charlie Castle and Tim Yi for playing those tiebreaks with the girls during practice days. This team has been all in on their practice days and it showed on Saturday.
Thanks to the many parents and friends who came by to support the players. The girls clearly appreciated and enjoyed the day!
George School vs The Hun School of Princeton—Friday, September 28, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
JV girls tennis hosted Hun School on a beautiful Friday afternoon. The sun came out as the matches began!
A total of seven matches were played: three singles and four doubles.
The final match score was: George School 4; Hun School 3.
The theme of the day was first set loss, resilience, and importance of playing to the very end.
Neha Kotha and Saffron Buscemi had similar experiences in their first and second singles matches. Both were playing against worthy opponents and were blitzed in their first sets. They showed their on-court problem-solving skills, reset, and became competitive in the second set. While both matches ended in straight set wins for Hun, they embraced the mental aspects of having a short memory after a set loss, did not go away, and reset to a very competitive finish. They both came away with new benchmarks for their own improvement. Neha: 1-6; 4-6. Saffron: 1-6; 5-7.
Sonya Song in her singles debut playing third singles found herself in a full-blown match battle. Sonya battled to a first set win of 6-4; dropped the second set 5-7, and battled to the end in a match tiebreak loss of 8-10. It was likely the longest and most physically taxing match she’s ever played. This match, along with our first doubles match, pushed past 6:00 p.m. for thrilling finishes. Well done, Sonya!
If you’re a doubles fan, our first and second doubles matches featured amazing competition by eight totally committed young women! For our first doubles, Neha Thumu and Cameron Mitchell teamed. They dropped a hard-fought first set 5-7, but embraced the idea they were right there. Without a drop in intensity, they sent the message “not today, not here.” They took the second set 7-5 to earn the right to play a match tiebreak. With many eyes watching, and bursts of cheers from both sides, their poise and grit in the TB was so impressive. They took an early lead, watched the lead compress, but then closed the match well into the 6:00 p.m. hour, with a TB win 10-8. If you’re a doubles player, you had to be impressed by the teaming of Neha and Cameron. Well done girls!
Teresa Liang and Jillian Nord (a freshmen team at second doubles) experienced why it’s important to “practice with purpose” and “practice as you play.” They showed their understanding of strategic doubles play, partner communication, and minimizing unforced errors and double faults. Here again, playing with poise in front of many eyes at home was impressive. Two young ladies who have committed themselves at practices to learn and improve every day. Straight sets win against a competitive opponent. 6-4; 6-3.
Third Doubles (Dayla Fitts and Emily White) and Fourth Doubles (Aiknoor Kaur and Sophia Shararah) won their matches handily in straight sets, 6-0; 6-0. While not the most competitive of opponents, the girls still displayed their increasing skill improvements, understanding of the game and fine sportsmanship. Well done girls!
Thanks to Charlie Castle, Tim Yi, and Prabhnoor Kaur for providing “eyes on matches” and being there for support to the players as needed, and reinforcing important competition philosophies that they’ve learned in practices.
Special thanks to the parents and friends who came by to support the players. The girls clearly appreciated and enjoyed the day!
George School vs Abington Friends School—Tuesday, October 2, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
Girls JV Tennis hosted Abington Friends Tuesday afternoon 10/2/2018.
A total of 5 matches were played; 2 singles and 3 doubles as requested by AFS.
Match score was: George School 4; Abington Friends 1
The themes of the day were strong starts and being on guard for second set lapses when playing with a lead. The team rose to the occasion of the themes!
Neha Kotha playing first singles set the pace early with a strong start, a minor lapse letting her a 5-2 lead slip to 5-5, but recognized what was happening and proceeded to win 8 straight games as she began to “release” her groundstrokes and stayed aggressive on some floating returns. A good paced match straight sets 7-5; 6-0. A fine strategic and mental match, Neha K!!
Neha Thumu playing second singles had the sportsmanship challenge match of the day. Facing an opponent much less accomplished than herself, she played through to a straight-set win 6-0; 6-0
Saffron and Sonya Song at first doubles, AND their first pairing, lit up the court with very fine doubles skills, typically seen only in pairs that had previously played many doubles matches together. Fortunately, their opponents were comparably skilled which made the match even more impressive. But the high percentage of first serves in by both players; Saffron’s deep “leftie” cross court ground strokes; Sonya’s gravitation to the net, and some finely timed and directed lobs were just too consistent for their opponent and led them to straight-set win 6-3; 6-2.
Sonya’s amazing “direction control” on her volleys were on full display. Both girls are unique in that they each have some developed slice skills, which enhanced their volleys and helped keep ground strokes lower. Also impressive was their communication, which can be tricky covering the middle when you have 2 forehands covering the middle as you have with a right and left handed player. So Very Well Done, Girls!!
Emily and Winnie at second doubles came out a bit tentative, but then settled into a strategy and never looked back. This past week in practice, much emphasis was placed on finishing points when opportunities were presented and transferring pressure to your opponent to setup unforced errors. That was on display in this match. Again, fairly high first serve percentage by both girls, created opportunities for being aggressive and staying in control of the match, not allowing any shift in momentum. Straight sets win. 6-3; 6-2 showed full commitment to the start of the second set and stayed focus to the end. Well Done, Girls!!
Cameron and Sophia teamed for third doubles in probably the most closely competed match of the day; the match that stretched to past 6 PM, featuring split sets and a match tie-break. Impressive here was the intensity of players on both teams, over an extended period of time. After our team pulled out the first set 6-4, the second set was back and forth. Midway through, the Abington team realized this match was their last opportunity to avoid a sweep for the day, and to their credit, upped the intensity and commitment to take the second set 6-4. GS took an early lead in the tiebreak, but in the end, Abington prevailed 10-8 to take the match. Trying to finish the final match of the day always presents unique focus challenges as distractions increase around the courts. Well Done, Girls for your extended commitment.!!
Once again, special thanks to the parents and friends who came by to support the players. The girls clearly appreciated and enjoyed the day!
With just two home matches remaining in the season, hope to see you all again.!
George School @ Germantown Friends School—Friday, October 5, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
JV girls tennis traveled to Germantown Friends Friday afternoon.
A total of five matches were played; three singles and two doubles.
Match score was: Germantown Friends 4: George School 1
Faced with a sixteen hour turnaround for two away match requirements (an away league match and an FSL tournament), the coach mostly split the two day demands, with lineup emphasis designed to present our strongest showing on Saturday at the FSL Tournament. Unfortunately, after traveling to Westtown early Saturday for the tournament, it was cancelled shortly after arrival due to unplayable courts resulting from un-forecasted mist/drizzle in Chester County that lingered into mid-morning. Consensus among coaches was to not risk injuries to players and to not delay start beyond 11:00 a.m.
Meanwhile, at GFS:
Neha Kotha played first singles at GFS and against a formidable opponent, and probably played her most complete performance so far this season. Her racquet, match management, and mental skills were all in top form from beginning to end, staving off a couple of strong pushes by her opponent. She completed a straight sets win in front of many opponent supporters. 7-5; 6-3. Well done, Neha! Be proud!
Emily White had her singles debut playing second singles against a hard hitting and experienced opponent. Even though her opponent offered her share of opportunities due to unforced errors and second serves, her experience and skill intimidation were too much and she still prevailed as she won the match in straight sets.
Prabhnoor Kaur played third singles, and her opponent was very skilled at shot selection and direction control and kept unforced errors and double faults to a minimum. She secured the match in straight sets. Prabhnoor never went away in the match however, especially in the second set, making sure her opponent had to earn each point/game. Way to compete, Prabhnoor!
Aiknoor Kaur and Dayla Fitts teamed for first doubles against a good doubles opponent and pushed them in the first set, which featured a lead change a few times, but the opponent prevailed 7-5. The second set was mostly the opponent as GFS secured the straight sets victory 7-5; 6-1.
Jillian Nord and Anney Ye teamed for second doubles, also against a skilled doubles team. The competed hard with their best available skill, but not enough to threaten the opponent. Match ended in straight set win for the opponent.
Next match is home on Tuesday, October 9 vs. Shipley School at 4:00 p.m.
George School @ FSL JV Tournament—Saturday, October 6, 2018 @ 10:00 a.m.
George School vs Shipley School—Tuesday, October 9, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
A total of six matches were played: three singles, two doubles, and one doubles exhibition match.
Official match score was: Shipley 3; George School 2.
Matches were split on venue with Shipley prevailing in all singles matches and GS winning all doubles matches. Four of the five matches were fine match ups and well competed by all of the players.
Just to avoid another rainout was a big plus! Thanks to Coach Matt (Shipley) for coming and not bailing to weather uncertainty.
First singles, played by Neha Kotha, was a classic well-matched battle with several extended rallies and extended game scores which tested the physical endurance and mental toughness of both players. In these type of matches, a couple of swing points and a few missed opportunities typically turn the tide one way or another. Neha faced some of her strongest pace so far and realized that pace impacts shot selection, backswing, and responsiveness. Good experience for growth. Nice battle today, Neha! Shipley prevailed in straight sets 6-3; 6-3.
Saffron Buscemi played second singles and was also engaged with a formidable opponent, and would have thought Saffron would be outmatched from the beginning. However, “leftie” is a good thinker and strategist on the court, and can keep ground strokes low across the net. She kept her opponent from running away. In the second set, Saffron kept it very close, but towards the end she got a bit defensive and gave her opponent a few too many short returns in the middle that were easy to attack and pass, and that allowed her opponent to finish the match in straight sets. Shipley prevailed 6-4; 6-4. Nice effort, Saffron!
SonYa Song played third singles and played her normal good shot control type of tennis, but her overall foot speed today was just not enough to keep up with her opponent's movement of return shots. Well done to her opponent for recognizing how to attack the weakness in the opposing player. Shipley prevailed 6-1; 6-2.
Neha Thuma and Cameron Mitchell gave us a good show today at first doubles with their fine doubles teaming skills, well thought shot selection, good first serve percentage, improving net play, and keeping unforced error count down. Good doubles play today on both sides of the net. GS prevailed in straight sets 6-3; 6-4
Emily White and Winnie Ding at second doubles showed their comfort and confidence in playing with each other as they approached their match with enthusiasm and some “feisty attitude.” You can always tell when doubles players have good chemistry when you see good setup and put away points. Nice energy effort today girls! GS prevailed 6-1; 6-1 . Too bad the tournament was rained out. I was looking forward to them playing in Westtown. They would have had a good run.
The “sisters,” Aiknoor and Prabhnoor Kaur played the third doubles exhibition today, and while not overly competitive, a good match for the sisters to try some new shots and strategies for matches going forward. GS prevailed 6-0; 6-0.
George School @ Friends Select School—Friday, October 12, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
George School @ Moorestown Friends School—Tuesday, October 16, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
Girls JV Tennis traveled to Moorestown Friends on Tuesday.
A total of five matches were played: three singles and two doubles.
Match score was: MFS 5 GS 0.
Congratulations to MFS for a very solid top-to-bottom lineup, who played like the now 10-0 team they are. With the right perspective, this was the kind of match that is good for our players to experience, especially for those who may choose to make competitive tennis a part of their life going forward. An all-year-round commitment, with concentration on all aspects of the sport and hard work, can make it possible.
All of the matches ended with straight set wins by MFS, but in three of the five matches, we won more games in the second set than the first set, so there was no quit. It's never an easy task to continue to compete when you feel out-matched on the court, so kudos to our team for battling to the end. Only one of the five matches ended 6-0; 6-0.
Notable skill exhibition by the MFS players included early shot recognition, anticipation and response skills, court awareness, broad variety of shot selection, agile foot movement with the flight of the ball, and just an overall focused, competitive demeanor on court.
Three scheduled matches remaining to learn and move forward!
George School vs Westtown School—Friday, October 19, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
JV girls tennis finished their 2018 home season by hosting Westtown School on Friday afternoon.
A total of seven matches were played: three singles, two doubles, and two doubles exhibition matches.
GS won four of the seven matches, which included second and third singles matches, and the two doubles exhibition matches.
Official league match score: Westtown 3; George School 2.
Another exciting, very competitive contest across all seven matches! The “moose” attitude was evident from players on both sides! Well done to the players on both ends of the courts!
Saffron Buscemi had to step up and take on the first singles match. She did a great job staying in the match to the end. While dropping the first set 6-3, she continued to press her opponent in the second set to a set tie break. She fell significantly behind in the tie break, then made a late come from behind charge, but her opponent stopped the bleeding and was able to finish the second set to seal the match with a second set win 7-6.
Neha Thuma and Sonya Song played second and third singles respectfully. Neha dominated with relentless deep ground strokes from corner to corner, never allowing her opponent to be comfortable in the middle of the court. Also using a nice variety of shot selection, moving the ball nicely north and south and east and west around the court. A dominating performance of 6-0; 6-1. Sonya’s match was characterized by her “steady as she goes" demeanor and her crafty style of “squash-like” forehands. With pinpoint accuracy and her unique ability to pick the returns early off the court, she did not allow her opponent much time to think about her return strategy. Well done, Sonya with straight sets in a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Emily White and Winnie Ding engaged at first doubles; Teresa Liang and Jillian Nord engaged at second doubles. Both matches were similar in characteristics and their outcomes. The kinds of issues that typically determine the victor in doubles matches were on full display. Players being fully engaged at all times when the ball is in flight, protecting the middle of the court, being opportunistic on second serves and floating return balls across the net, avoiding hitting to the net player without serious conviction, and strategically played lobs. Westtown was just enough more effective in these areas in both matches to prevail 6-4; 6-2 in first doubles and 6-3; 6-2 in second doubles.
Prabhnoor Kaur and Anney Ye played third doubles, and Cameron Mitchell and Dayla Fitts played fourth doubles. In both of these matches, the same doubles strategies mentioned were on display, and in these matches, the “feisty cougars” held the upper hand on the strategies for the majority of the time, showing confidence in their strategy, execution, and endurance. Both matches yielded straight set wins: 6-2, 7-5 for Prabhnoor and Anney; 6-3, 6-4 for Cameron and Dayla.
Special thanks to Dayla for her team pep talk on “moose day” and for what has become her “ penetrating” team psych chant!! Way to go, Dayla!!
Thanks also to Kaitlyn Lee for coming to the pre-match activity and rounding us up for a team photo for the yearbook.
George School @ Friends’ Central School—Tuesday, October 23, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
A total of seven matches were played: three singles, two doubles, and one doubles and one singles exhibition matches.
GS won three of the seven matches, which included first singles, second doubles, and exhibition doubles. Both of the doubles matches went to extended match tie-breaks in which GS prevailed in both!!
Official league match score was: Friends Central 3; George School 2.
Neha Thumu and her opponent Yifei literally put on a singles clinic for almost two hours. Most prominent was the sheer joy that each of them showed in playing this wonderful game. So evenly matched in all aspects, in the words of Elton John, it was like “playing chess at ninety miles per hour for two hrs.” There was savvy shot selection and execution, shot direction control, total competitive attitude and mental focus for almost two hours, acknowledging and appreciating each other’s successes in true tennis sportsmanship, wonderful line calls, and hugs at the end.
Due to daylight eroding, coaches agreed to switch the second set to no-ad mid way thru the second set. As daylight disappeared, Neha prevailed in straight sets 7-5; 6-4. I’m convinced these young ladies will play tennis for years to come. Neha gave living example to the rest of her teammates looking on, what is possible through hard work and the satisfaction gained by embracing this game.
Sonya Song and Winnie Ding played second doubles. There was a lean split of the two sets. GS took first set 6-2, then dropped the second set 2-6. That led to a ten point match tie-break. Intensity was in the air as both teams pondered the pressure of the moment. Coach Jim was on the court to oversee the tie-break. Neither team dominated as the lead changed hand several times. Once the score reach 9-9 and all spectator eyes were on this court, the pressure elevated for each match point, but it was put down each time. Finally at 15-14, GS pressured with a deep return that led to a response that flew deep. Great focus by both teams who appreciated what they had accomplished under pressure of many spectators. Way to go, Sonya and Winnie!
Jillian Nord and Anney Ye engaged at the exhibition doubles match. Their match was similar in characteristic as first doubles with clear split of the sets. GS took the first set 6-4, then dropped the second set 6-3. The momentum stayed with FCS into the match TB, as they pressed ahead to 8-4, but then Jillian and Anney used the sych “not here, not today,” and focused on winning the next point each time, and ran off six consecutive points as the pressure mounted on their opponent to get across the finish line. In the end, GS prevailed in the TB, 10-8. Coach Wes was on court overseeing the TB. Way to go Jillian and Anney for tenacity and focus to the end!!
Thanks to Wes and Hardy (coaches at FCS). Great coaches and tennis advocates for young women. Pleasure working with them.
George School @ The Pennington School—Wednesday, October 24, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
JV girls tennis traveled to Pennington School on Wednesday, October 24, 2018.
At the request of the Pennington coach, the match consisted of five doubles teams.
Match score was: George School 4; Pennington 1.
In recognition of the hard work by the players throughout the season, they were given the opportunity to request doubles pairings for the final two matches. For the most part, the requests were accommodated between this match and the prior match against FCS.
D1: Neha/Saffron 6-0; 6-4
D2: Teresa/Winnie 3-6; 4-6
D3: Neha T/Prabhnoor 6-0; 6-0
D4: Sonya/Dayla (Emily originally scheduled to play with Dayla but fell ill) 6-0; 6-1
D5: Sophia/Jillian 6-0; 6-0
GS players came out strong early and demonstrated they were well prepared for their matches and were ready and largely unaffected by the cool temps and cold wind, and the sharp sun glare which prevailed for about the first fifty minutes.
It was satisfying to see good doubles understanding from our players across all of the matches; for example, the importance of avoiding double faults, emphasizing the middle nine feet of the court for defense, strategic lobs to fend off net rushing, moving forward to take advantage of deep returns, transferring pressure to their opponent to increase chance of unforced errors, and finishing points when opportunity presented.
It was particularly interesting to watch Neha K and Saffron evolve in their match. While they’ve played some lighthearted doubles in practice, they were the team members who had to predominately carry the singles load throughout the entire season. As the match began, they were like two singles players sharing the same court, preferring to hug the baseline, hit, retreat, and selectively move forward. Then slowly they began to assimilate some key doubles offensive characteristics that they knew were appropriate. Their performance then transformed from a singles attrition philosophy to the doubles offensive philosophy with a strategy of focusing on setup and finishing shots. Well done, ladies!! Doubles will always make you a more complete singles player.
It was a pleasure working with this team this year, and I especially appreciated their dedication and commitment to the team, in light of their many responsibilities. I am especially appreciative of the freshmen, who I’m sure during September and October felt like they were “drinking from a fire hose” on many days. Wishing them all good luck going forward! Hopefully this wonderful game of tennis provides some satisfaction and stress relief, now knowing they can go out and play with friends anytime, chill and enjoy!
Recognition once again to parents, grandparents, and guardians. At several matches this year, both home and away, I had the pleasure of meeting them and chatting about their player. Their support was wonderful and you could always see it in the eyes of the players!