The Kew-Forest School showed just how skilled its athletes are by capturing both the volleyball and varsity tennis girls’ championships in the span of one week – capturing the 2011 Private Parochial School Athletic League (IPPAL) Championships, capping off both teams’ impressive seasons.
On October 25, the varsity volleyball team defeated Lawrence-Woodmere in a match played at the Lexington School. Led by coach Adreama Mackey and team captains Maria Tsiatis and Lexis Valentine, the Jaguars won 2-1. After losing their first set 19-25, the Jaguars hit their stride and went on to win the next two sets. The second set resulted in a 25-22 win, and in their final set, they achieved a decisive victory of 25-10.
“After losing the first set, we were really determined to get it back,” said co-captain Maria Tsiatis. “It was really intense — they were a great team and we had to play our best to beat them. We saw what it means to work hard and see the results. Five of us are graduating, and winning it all meant so much.”
The team’s victory gave them a 7-1 record on the year.
On the tennis court, Kew-Forest defeated last year’s champions, the Portledge School, 3-2, for the championship. The Jaguars secured victory under the leadership of captain Whitney Schott to complete a successful 9-1 season for the team.
One of the key players, sophomore Grace Tom, played on both the tennis and volleyball teams, helping bring home both championships. Until this year, Kew-Forest had not fielded a girls’ tennis team for decades. In prior years, female players participated on the boys’ team, where they played a significant role in achieving a championship win last year.
The formation of the girls team has been invigorated by last year’s launch of the Kew-Forest Tennis Academy at the West Side Tennis Club, a partnership between the school and the tennis club. The Academy provides a unique interface between college-preparatory academics and competitive athletics — giving students three hours of daily practice and tennis pro instruction during the academic year. Scott Gordon-Somers, Director of Sport, Health and Wellness at Kew-Forest and acting girls’ tennis coach, has been key in the development of the Girls Varsity Team and the Academy.