Varsity Girls Tennis 2019-2020 Season
George School vs Princeton Day School—Saturday, September 7, 2019 @ 1:00 p.m.
Arshi and Grace stepped up for their debut match at first doubles on Saturday. While the girls came up a bit short, the score (6-2, 6-0) does not tell the whole story. The teams were more evenly matched, with several of the games going to deuce. Unfortunately, the ball just didn’t bounce their way on a number of critical points. There were several bright spots for the Cougars, however, with Arshi demonstrating a blistering first-serve and Grace finding the alley on several rockets from her forehand. As we look to Tuesday’s match, it is safe to say that Arshi and Grace will build on their successes and come out ready to go. Way to go, girls.
With an early-season injury, Neha Kotha was asked to step in to fill the spot at second doubles; pairing up with Carol Lu in their first match together. Much like the first doubles match, the Cougar girls took several games to deuce, but had difficulty converting on the Ad court. While Carol and Neha both hit some exceptional shots, they were frustrated by the spectacular net play of the PDS duo. Seeming winners were picked out of the air and returned with authority. To the girls’ credit, however, they never gave up on a ball and managed to keep the rallies alive on several occasions. Tuesday will see the return of a full squad with Neha playing singles for the first time in her Varsity career.
Abby Silver and Kate Levesque had a spectacular opening bid, taking the match in straight sets (6-4, 6-3). It was Abby’s first competition since an injury sidelined her for the 2018-2019 season and we were glad to have her back. She has lost little at the net, putting away volleys with both power and placement. Kate’s serve was on point, putting their opponents on the defensive from the start. Well done, Cougars.
Tuesday we play Peddie HOME -- come cheer us on!!
Lyman and Cheri
George School vs Peddie School—Tuesday, September 10, 2019 @ 4:15 p.m.
Arshi and Grace faced another tough duo this week at the #1 doubles position. The girls came out strong, with Arshi continuing to improve her 1st serve percentage and Grace honing her forehand returns. Unfortunately, the Peddie duo was impenetrable at the net, hitting wicked angled volleys for winners. Although the score was 0-6, 0-6, the Cougars showed improvement in many aspects of their game that will prove to make for a winning combination. As one spectator mentioned, “these two never give up on a ball. They are so much fun to watch.”
Phoebe and Carol came away with a straight-set victory in their first match as a doubles team. The Cougars broke serve fairly early in the first, taking the set 6-4. A renewed Peddie team came back in the second set, trading games with our girls. At 4-5, it looked like this match was going to go the distance but improved net-play and a focus on hitting deep groundstrokes proved to be too much for Peddie. The Cougars took the last three games and the match 6-4, 7-5. Way to go!
Third Doubles saw the return of Abby and Kate Levesque to fine form. Abby looked really comfortable at the net, hitting deep volleys and tight angles for winners. Kate’s serve, once again, proved consistent, keeping the Peddie duo on the defensive and setting up for quick points. Like the second doubles match, our girls took an early lead, winning the first set 6-3. To their credit, Peddie adjusted well and forced another extended set with the Cougars prevailing 7-5. Nice, work Abby and Kate.
George School @ Perkiomen School—Friday, September 13, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.
George School @ FSL Tennis Invitational—Saturday, September 14, 2019 @ 10:00 a.m.
George School vs Westtown School—Tuesday, September 17, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.
George School vs Shipley School—Friday, September 20, 2019 @ 4:15 p.m.
Fresh off of their win over Westtown, the first doubles team of Phoebe Johnson '20 and Arshi Nagra '22 were feeling good about their chances against Shipley. The Cougars got off to an early lead, taking the first four of five games. Unfortunately, the Shipley girls found their rhythm and began to make shots both at the net and at the baseline. The teams traded games and it looked like we might still win the first set, but Shipley was able to turn it up a notch higher and managed to take the next several games and the first set 5-7. Riding the momentum, Shipley overpowered our girls in the second set, winning 2-6. While the score was not what we had hoped it to be, Phoebe and Arshi should feel very good about their play. Arshi’s serve continues to get stronger and more consistent and Phoebe is a force at the net. It is fair to say that we did not lose this match, but rather Shipley, won.
Second Doubles was the match of the day. Like the first doubles match, Grace Song '21 and Carol Lu '21 started off strong, trading games with a formidable team from Shipley. A bit of trouble with their serves and strong net play by the Shipley pair proved too much for the Cougars who dropped the first set 2-6. Determined to push the match to its limits, Grace and Carol battled back in the second set, winning 6-4 and forcing a third set. Tired and a bit frustrated, our girls reached deep and pushed the third set to a 5-5 tie before taking the final two games and the match 7-5. Way to go girls! You showed why we don’t give up and you earned a fantastic victory today.
Be sure to stay tuned for Tuesday's away match vs. Academy of New Church (4:00). Or, come see our talented JV team at home Tuesday vs. Perkiomen (4:00). Go Cougars!
George School @ Academy of the New Church—Tuesday, September 24, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.
Arshi Nagra '22 and Phoebe Johnson '20 came back after a tough loss last Friday to win a decisive victory over the ANC duo. The Cougars started strong going up 4-1 on the back of Arshi’s serve (two aces in 1 game) and Phoebe’s solid net play (a common refrain these days). The girls got a bit complacent, allowing ANC to come back to within a service break of pushing the set to extra games. Fortunately, they found their bearings again and took the set 6-4. Using their momentum, the team coasted to a 6-1 victory in the second set, bringing their record to 2-1 at the first doubles position. Well done, Arshi and Phoebe.
Coming off of the stellar win on Friday, Grace Song '21 and Carol Lu '21 began the match with a good deal of confidence and a strong game plan. They took an early lead in the first set and never looked back. As the season rolls on, this duo gets better, communicating well and anticipating what each other will do. Carol’s wicked cross-court forehand return set up easy volleys for Grace to finish the point at the end. And Grace’s speed and tenacity frustrated their opponents at times as she reached almost certain winners. The girls also made excellent use of lobs and a general change of pace, throwing their opponents off of their game. The final score of 6-1, 6-2 reflects the control they had throughout the match. Way to go, Grace and Carol!
Stay tuned for our next match as we face Abington Friends home next Wednesday. Come and support!!
George School vs Abington Friends School—Wednesday, October 2, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.
George School @ Germantown Friends School—Friday, October 4, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.
First doubles was probably the most evenly matched of the day. The teams traded games throughout the first set as the girls on both sides of the net tried to adjust their approach to the strong winds. GFS seemed to figure out the wind sooner and took the first set 6-4. Not to be deterred, Arshi and Phoebe drew up a new game plan. They realized that each side of the court would require a different style of play, one allowing for full strokes and the other demanding precision placement. Their efforts paid off in the second, taking the set 6-4 and forcing a third set. While the Cougars dialed up their game, so too the Tigers dug deep in the third. While the final set was 6-1 in favor of GFS, the score belies the story of the match. Each point was hard-fought with long rallies and excellent net play. A few bounces here or there and the outcome could have been very different. Overall an excellent effort.
The second doubles match was as wild as the wind whipping across the court. An early injury in the first game put the Cougars on their heels, dropping the first four games. Not willing to go down without a fight, Grace and Carol dug deep and found a way to win the next six games and the first set, 6-4. Unfortunately, the Tigers changed their play and figured out how to use the wind to their advantage taking the second set 6-2. After moving the match to another court to avoid the overspray from the pool next door, the GFS duo continued their strong play and overpowered our girls with another 6-2 set and the victory. Given the phenomenal comeback in the first and very strong play throughout the match, the girls should feel very good with their effort today. We’ll get ‘em next time.
George School @ Calvary Christian Academy—Monday, October 7, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.
George School @ Moorestown Friends School—Thursday, October 10, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.
MFS 5 record to date? (6-0 in Friends School League)
GS 0 record to date 4-6 (3-3 in Friends School League)
1 MFS Bella Pescatore def. GS Maya Kowalska 6-3, 6-7 (TB 4-7), 3rd set TB 10-7
2 MFS Lisa Seiler def. GS Susanne Kowalska 6-2, 6-2
3 MFS Julia Tourtellotie def. GS Kate Lyden 3-6, 6-2 3rd set TB 10-8
1 MFS Skye Mada / Natalie Julian def. GS Arshi Nagra / Phoebe Johnson 6-0, 6-0
2 MFS Jamine Phillips / Bailey Butterworth def. GS Grace Song / Carol Lu 6-2, 6-3
A rare Thursday match found the Varsity Girls’ Tennis Team traveling to Moorestown Friends School for our 6th Friends School League match. Facing the 2018 NJ State Champs is always a challenge and we knew today would be no different. That being said, the team went into the match with positivity and thoughts about an upset.
Maya put on another strong showing at first singles, forcing a third-set super tiebreaker against a very strong MFS opponent. While her opponent took the first set 6-3, the score does not reflect how close the match really was. With long rallies of hard-hitting groundstrokes, the girls moved each other side to side, forcing each other to hit precision winners to take the point. While the MFS player may have had a slightly stronger serve, Maya handled the pace exceptionally well, sending her returns deep to the baseline. The second set saw the player's trade games with Maya coming out ahead in a set tiebreaker. Because the team match had been decided already, the girls played a 10-point tiebreaker in lieu of a third set. Like the first two sets, the tiebreaker was a series of tremendous baseline rallies. In the end, MFS was just too strong and took the match, but Maya should feel really good about her efforts today.
At second singles, Susanne faced a difficult opponent sporting a powerful serve and consistent groundstrokes. While the pace of her serve was impressive, Susanne hung in on every point and hit some excellent returns. Much like Maya’s first set, Susanne’s match was certainly closer than what the score would indicate. While she was only able to take two games in each set, Susanne played very well and a bounce here or there and she could have been in it. Overall, Susanne did a great job today, showing a great deal of grit in facing her powerful opponent.
Kate played the match of the day for GS at the third singles position. Facing a wily lefty who was able to get to just about everything, Kate needed to play a smart match, moving her opponent around the court. She did an excellent job of changing the pace, bringing the MFS player to the net and then placing a lob or passing shot just out of reach. Kate took the first set 6-3 and looked to be on her way to winning one for GS. Unfortunately, Kate’s opponent adjusted her game and was able to counter Kate’s game plan, winning the second 6-2. Like the first singles’ match, the girls played a 10-point tiebreaker to decide the winner. While Kate put up a great fight, her opponent came out on top 10-8. Despite the loss, Kate showed a great deal of determination out there today.
Arshi and Phoebe faced a very talented duo today at first doubles. While the girls struggled to handle the strong play of the MFS players, they did make some excellent shots and tried a number of different strategies to foil their opponents. There were several points that combined long corner to corner rallies with decisive winning volleys. The point of the day included multiple volleys, drop shots and quick reaction times. While the score (6-0, 6-0) was certainly not what they were hoping for, Phoebe and Arshi had several highlights that they can build on in tomorrow’s match.
Rounding out the match were Carol and Grace at the second doubles position. The girls had some difficulty getting their shots to find the lines, dropping four of the first five games. They did settle down a bit and were able to take another game before giving up the first set 2-6. Not willing to just roll over, the Cougar duo pushed the second set to 3-4 and it looked like they might be able to push the match to a third set. Unfortunately for us, one of the MFS players found her serve, hitting back to back aces and finishing off the match 3-6.
George School vs Stuart Country Day School—Friday, October 11, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.
1. GS Maya Kowalska def. SCDS Anna Dawson 6-1, 6-1
2. GS Susanne Kowalska def. SCDS Allison Tarbatton 6-4, 6-2
3. GS Kate Lyden def. SCDS Mia Szabo 6-3, 6-1
1. GS Phoebe Johnson/Arshi Nagra def. SCDS 6-3, 7-5
2. GS Grace Song/Carol Lu def SCDS Holly Zhuang/Wendy Wang 6-7 (TB 4-7), 6-1, Set TB 10-6
It was a beautiful day for tennis today and the Cougars came to play.
Maya continued her strong play today, demonstrating patience and resolve against an opponent who was able to draw out points with her solid groundstrokes and consistent serve. While many of the games went to deuce, Maya was able to take advantage when it counted, changing the pace and throwing off the Stuart girl’s timing. Although Maya won the first set 6-1, she felt she wasn’t playing her game. At the changeover, something seemed to click, and she started to power the ball down the lines, forcing her opponent back on her heels. The change made for a relatively quick second set and the first win of the day for GS. Nice work, Maya.
At second singles, Susanne faced a solid player with a great deal of quickness and an uncanny ability to run down seeming winners. The first set was very close with the girls trading games early on. Several points seemed to go on forever with each girl making spectacular half volleys, running down lobs and finally hitting winners. After the 7th game, Susanne began to attack the ball more and hit some beautiful deep balls into the corners. Her new game plan paid off and she took the first set 6-4. Riding a wave of confidence, Susanne took the game to her opponent, winning the second set with relative ease. Her win clinched the match and gave our doubles teams some breathing room. Way to go, Susanne!
Kate played a terrific match today at the third singles position. Early on, the match was close with several long baseline rallies and some well-placed shots. As she often does, Kate was able to take the first set 6-3. Between the sets, Kate thought about what worked and realized it was important to keep her opponent on the move. With a consistent serve and control of the pace, Kate was able to sail to a 6-1 win in the second set, taking the second match of the day. Awesome job, Kate!
Phoebe and Arshi had another strong showing at first doubles, taking the match in straight sets. In the first set, the Cougars found their games to be a little off with some of their shots sailing long or finding the net. Despite some early issues, the girls found their groundstrokes and volleys and were able to take the first set 6-3. In the second, the GS duo got off to a quick start, showing remarkable reaction times at the net. It looked like the match would be concluded quickly, but the Stuart girls had other ideas. While the Tartans put up a good fight, Arshi and Phoebe were not going to let this match slip away. Under pressure, they both stepped up and took the second set 7-5. What a great effort!
Grace and Carol had the match of the day at second doubles. The Cougars faced a pair of hard-hitting players who were not afraid to step up to the net and take control of the play. While the girls stayed in the first set with solid service returns, they were unable to take the first set, dropping the tiebreaker 4-7. This only proved to fuel the girl’s drive to win the second, which they did in fine fashion 6-1. The highlight point of the match saw Grace run down a wide return and then Carol punish the Stewart team with a powerful overhead slam. Because the team match had already been determined, they played a 10-point tiebreaker to decide their match. Stuart went up early in the tiebreaker, but Grace and Carol found a way to string together a number of excellent shots to take the third set and the match. This was a hard-fought match and the girls should feel great about their efforts.
We will return to the courts on Tuesday as we travel to Friends Central for the second to last FSL regular-season match.
George School @ Friends’ Central School—Tuesday, October 15, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.
Maya (first singles) and her opponent began long, hard exchanges from the very start and to watch occasionally from afar, you'd think that the match was even Steven. They both used their prowess to drive the balls deep and wide, sometimes dropping them short and low. A fun match to watch, the girls kept at it at a record pace, and Maya kept coming out on top, directing most of the traffic on the court. Her pace and precision were too much to handle for the FCS player, one of the most sportsmanlike players that Maya has faced to date. Congratulations, Maya, for an almost flawless show!
Kate at third singles worked hard to find weak areas in her opponent's game. The FCS player ran down most balls easily as Kate kept up her strategy of moving the player around, changing pace and keeping the ball in play. The accuracy and clever drop balls of the FCS player were too much to handle today, despite the numerous long exchanges that Kate and her opponent enjoyed on the court. The score does not accurately reflect the amount of work produced on court #3. Great effort, Kate!
Court #2 was home to Susanne and her opponent for 90 minutes. Beginning with a struggle to find her rhythm and continuing with shaky serves and netted balls, Susanne fought nonetheless to stay in the game. The first set score seems one-sided, but both girls hit many, many balls to complete the six games.
At exhibition singles, Neha played one set today, bowing to her opponent at 3-6. The rallies were mostly dominated by the FCS player, but Neha got her racket on many balls today, respectfully earning three games, the best set of any of the singles players who did not win today. Good playing, Neha!
Although the first doubles team of Arshi and Phoebe were not able to come away with a win today, their match was extremely entertaining to watch, and they should feel really good about their play. In the first set, the Cougars got out to an early lead and it looked like they had the match well in hand. Unfortunately, the FCS duo proved to be relentless in their ability to run down shots and keep the points alive. Most of the rallies included a string of deep groundstrokes and lobs, followed by rapid volleys and even an overhead or two. The points were long, and the match would come down to the team that made the least unforced errors. After a heartbreaking loss in the first set 5-7, the girls regrouped and came out with every intention of forcing this to a three-set match. Once again, they took an early lead, but the net play and consistent serving of the FCS girls were just a bit too much and the girls dropped the second 4-6. Despite the loss, it was a great match.
Grace and Carol certainly had their hands full today at second doubles. While they both played very well, they faced a couple of hard-hitting FCS players. From the opening game, the girls were forced back on their heels, playing defensively to stay in the points. To their credit, they both hit some excellent shots with Grace showing grit at the net and Carol continuing to hit her patented cross-court forehand deep into their opponent’s doubles alley. In the end, however, the FCS duo had too many weapons and, despite several adjustments, our girls could not seem to catch a break.
FCS 4 record to date overall 9-1
GS 1 record to date 4-7 (3-4 in Friends School League)
1 GS Maya Kowalska '23 def. FCS Grace Decater 6-0, 6-1
2 FCS Anna Volpp def. GS Susanne Kowalska '21 6-0, 6-2
3 FCS Sally Su def. GS Kate Lyden '20 6-0, 6-2
1 FCS Thea Volpp / Emma Malone def. GS Arshi Nagra '22 / Phoebe Johnson '20 7-5, 6-4
2 FCS Hannah Rossio / Hallie Bender def. GS Grace Song '21 / Carol Lu '21 6-0, 6-1
George School @ Friends Select School—Friday, October 18, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.
At third singles, Kate came out focused and determined to take both sets of the last FSL match of her career. She jumped ahead right away at 3-0, when her opponent woke up and began to put together a respectable defense, resulting in an even set at mid point. "Enough," said Kate, as she went on to finish 6-3. Set #2 was actually a long set with both players responding well to ball placement and the wind. Kate's deep groundstrokes helped keep the FSS player at bay as Kate made numerous approaches to the net. Kate should be proud of her efforts today with this solid match. Way to finish, Kate!!
A real battle of the siblings took place at second and first singles today, since both were sister teams! Both Susanne and Maya faced twins whose games, ironically, couldn't have been less identical. While at first glance Susanne's opponent possessed a formidable array of groundstrokes and canon-paced serves, the FSS player struggled to keep the ball in the court. Within moments, Susanne was up 5-0. This having been said, Susanne did need to pull out some pretty fine gymnastic stunts to get her racket on the zippy balls that came her way. This match was the perfect one for a player like Susanne, who never fades in the face of heavy pace. The second set treated the audience to longer points, more thoughtfully constructed offensive plays and an overall better set for the talented FSS player. Susanne was too much, however, for she too, upped her game and walked off proudly after allowing three games total. What a great belated birthday present for Susanne!
The highlight match of the day was on the stadium court where Maya and her opponent fought hard for each point. After two initial games of quick adjustments for the FSL player resulting in a 2-0 cushion for Maya, the FSL player sprung into action, stringing together four games in a row. At 2-4, Maya needed to do more and the battle really began here. Deep strokes, high bouncers followed by well-executed slice from both girls, and Maya's occasional approaches to the net made the remainder of this match a real smorgasbord of shots. For the duration of the match, the spectators could not tell who was winning each game, the skill level was so even. While the first set went to the FSL player and frustrated Maya, this only ignited her to pick up her game that much more in the second. And she did. A quick 4-1 lead in set #2 saw the FSL player dig in her heels and reply with more precision, but Maya prevailed to even the match at two sets all. GS had just won the overall match with the first doubles win (thank you, Phoebe and Arshi), so Maya and her opponent were not required to play a full third set, but rather a super tiebreak of first to 10 points with margin of two. The girls traded excellent points the entire way, both closing in on the prize. At 9-8, the FSS player double-faulted, allowing Maya back into the match. Maya went on to win the final two points, ending on a close line call.
Arshi and Phoebe found their match to be a little more of a challenge than they expected. At their last meeting at the FSL Invitational, the Cougar duo dominated, blanking the FSS girls. Today, they found a much-improved team that were ready to put up a fight. Throughout the match, the teams traded points, going to deuce in almost every game. Several of the points went on and on with both teams running down seeming winners. While they struggled a bit with the wind and some very good shots by their opponents, the Cougars put together several excellent points both at the baseline and the net. The girls were able to win consecutive games, breaking the pattern, and taking each set (6-4, 6-3). Way to go, Pheobe and Arshi.
Carol and Grace took control of the match from the first couple of games and didn’t look back. Both of their serves were dialed-in today and several points were won within the first or second shot. Carol continued to be a dominant presence at the net and Grace’s groundstrokes were powerful and well-placed. In addition, the girls did an excellent job communicating, whether switching sides on a lob or deciding when to poach. It was really fun watching their match and they should feel really good about their 6-1, 6-0 victory. What a great way to go into the final week of the season!
Today's match was a super finish to an FSL season full of ups and downs, but resulting in a respectable 4-4 overall record. We look forward to our last two matches next week. Please come out and support as our girls show their stuff on Tuesday at Pennington and Thursday home vs. Hun.