Birdies Undefeated Season Comes to an End

The Birdies ended a strong season with a close loss in the semifinal round.

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Heading into the golf postseason, the Birdies, Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity golf team, were optimistic about the coming weeks. Their 9-0 regular season record marked the third year in a row in which they went undefeated in the regular season. The athletes had good reason to believe that they could advance to the semifinals and maybe even the finals for the first time since the 2012 season. Last season, the Birdies made it to the semifinals, and this season, they were looking to take it one step further by reaching the finals. However, a higher level of opposition would await them in both the quarterfinals and semifinals.

The Birdies took care of business in their quarterfinal round against 7-2 Francis Lewis High School on Tuesday, October 30. The game was a nail-biter to the end, as the Birdies came back from a two hole deficit to win the match 3-2. “Their 1/2 was just too good for us, but our 3/4/5 was too good for them,” junior Sara Mui said.

Francis Lewis High School’s first two golfers were “some of the best golfers in PSAL,” Mui said. “But since we have a solid team, the bottom half was able to pull through.” Freshmen Djolin Sutjiawan and Lea Kwok, along with junior Aeryn Lubelsky, sealed the deal with three consecutive wins to end the match. This match against Francis Lewis was the toughest match they played all year, and their win highlighted the depth and mental strength of the team.

Unfortunately, the Birdies’ season came to an end in a hard fought game in the semifinal round against Tottenville High School on Thursday, November 1. Their disappointing 4-1 defeat concluded what was an exciting year of Stuyvesant golf. Though the score may seem lopsided, the Birdies kept the match competitive. Lubelsky, the sole winner out of the five starters who played, went undefeated during her match-up by winning four out of five holes and tying the last hole. Mui and Sutjiawan each lost their matchups by slight margins of one hole, and Kwok and junior Charlotte Yee had strong showings in their defeats. “I’m glad that even though we lost, we made them work for their win. They lost members from last year, but we lost more, so the fact that we could play them this year and not lose as badly is an accomplishment,” Mui said.

After another strong season, the girls are ready to get back to work in the offseason in preparation for next year’s season. “Coach [Emilio Nieves] is going to have us practice on a more consistent basis next summer because we really nearly got over the hump,” Yee said, referring to the two consecutive years in a row of narrow defeats in the semifinals. “Instead of just hitting balls at the range, he’s planning on having us practice our short game more,” she added.

The athletes are looking to use this season as a chance to work on their game. Despite the disappointment, the Birdies have high expectations for themselves next season. None of their starters will graduate, which means they will keep their winning lineup intact. Lubelsky, Mui, and Yee will be seniors then, and with the help of Kwok and Sutjiawan, they seem primed to make a push for the final. The players are wholeheartedly determined to capitalize on their regular season success and believe that they can overcome their annual obstacle of making it past the semifinals in the playoffs. “Our plan for next year is to go to the finals,” Yee said.

The bar has been set for the Birdies.