The Maspeth High School Girls Tennis team had a
good inaugural season.
BY LUIS GRONDA
Tennis at Maspeth High School has been a resounding success in its inaugural season, with both the boys and girls teams qualifying for the playoffs.
The teams recently finished their regular season and the results have been terrific. The boys varsity team finished 9-1 overall and earned a first round bye into its playoff game against Lincoln High School from Brooklyn. They were to play Wednesday night.
The girls finished with a 6-6 record and competed in the citywide playoffs, facing John F. Kennedy Campus High School from the Bronx on Tuesday evening. The Maspeth teams lost in their matchup 3-2 and are eliminated from the post season.
The team’s coaches, Sarah Jabbar and Ryan Stansfield, said they attribute their team’s success to the dedication the students have committed to playing tennis and improving on their craft.
“They always want to play. If it’s nice out, they want to play. Even if we’re not doing something together as a team, a lot of the time, they’ll just text each other and go play,” said Stansfield, who coaches the boys team. Both Stansfield and Jabbar are global history teachers at the school.
When asked to describe the girls season so far, Jabbar said the first word that comes to mind is “growth” because of how much the girls have improved their tennis game throughout the year.
“A lot of the girls on my team, they were brand new to the sport. Some of them had never picked up a tennis racket prior to being on the team,” she said.
“Just having them work on their strokes and their serves and seeing them get better has been really nice,” Jabbar added. “They really put their time and effort into this and it’s showing.”
Both teams have upper classmen that serve as leaders among their peers and are among the best players on the team.
According to Stansfield, his team is led by two seniors, Horia Negru and Nikodem Citak.
He said, Negru often plays against the best player on the other team and he generally feels confident that they will put in a good performance when they step onto the court.
As for Citak, Stansfield said he has taken on a leadership role within the team, including taking the younger players under his wing, and is essentially serving as an additional coach.
For Jabbar’s team, Magdalena Jankowski and Xin Yi Chen, who are both juniors, have emerged as the leaders of the team.
Jankowski, or “Maggie” as Jabbar called her, is the vocal leader of the team. The coach said, she leads the warm up practices even when a coach is present.
“She’s one of those players that really wants to do well. You can see it on her face, when she loses a match, that she wants to fix what she did,” Jabbar said.
She added that Chen’s skills have improved during the season, and she is the player with the best technique on the tennis court, according to Jabbar.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, email@example.com, or @luisgronda.