How the Peglegs Completed the Repeat

Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity table tennis team, the Peglegs, were crowned PSAL champions for the second consecutive year, once again undefeated in the regular season.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Cover Image
By Reem Khalifa

Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity table tennis team, the Peglegs, were crowned PSAL champions for the second consecutive year, maintaining an undefeated record in the regular season, 12-0 in both years. Take a look into their winning ways:  

Entering this season was a new beast to tackle. The Peglegs’ success last year left a target on their backs from previous opponents, who have since improved and were motivated to take down the champions. However, this team was not lacking in star power, and its individuals had enough accolades to speak for their talent: sophomore co-captain Alyssa Kang, a repeat PSAL individuals champion, senior captain Larissa Yue, this year’s individual runner-up and PSAL Pinstripe Award winner, and senior Anastacia Titov, who finished undefeated in her regular season and playoff career, along with their supporting cast of doubles players and reserves. 

Their talent was put on display as they breezed through the regular season. Table tennis matches are divided into five games: three doubles and two singles. These games are divided into five sets, and the first to three sets wins, needing 11 points to win a set. The Peglegs didn’t drop a single set in any of their regular season matches, winning every game 5-0, heading into the playoffs as the number one seed. The ability to win almost every match flawlessly without dropping a set is a testament to the consistency and depth that the team possesses. 

Championship teams in any sport rarely ever win back-to-back, often due to complacency and a change in mindset. This didn’t seem to faze the Peglegs as they continued with their winning ways, striving to improve, as they knew opponents were waiting to pounce on any mistake. “I really admire our entire team’s motivation to win. Everyone works incredibly hard toward improving, whether that is staying to practice after practice has technically ended, rewatching videos of our played games, or studying videos of our opponents on the Staten Island express bus,” Yue said. The team’s commitment to refining their game was put on display on their playoff run this year. 

The Peglegs found themselves suiting up to play in the finals of the PSAL championship on February 9, following a run that saw them beat Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, Staten Island Tech, and Brooklyn Tech in near flawless fashion, undefeated in their singles matches led by Kang, Yue, and Titov. In their final match against Flushing, the team won 5-0, narrowly succeeding in its final doubles match to secure the sweep. “Finally overcoming the last challenge, Flushing High School in the finals, was a relief, but the victory was also satisfying in the sense that that moment of victory is what we had been working to achieve for four months,” Coach Emilio Nieves said. 

Though talent is a major factor, Nieves recognizes that the team’s dedication is what brought them victory. “What really separates us is the commitment to success. We all recognized what we could accomplish and dedicated ourselves to it through many practices, and [we preserved] through college applications, journeys to Staten Island to play games and getting home after 7:00 p.m., and navigating the rigorous academic responsibilities teachers at Stuyvesant regularly subject their students to. Persevering through all of that and accomplishing our championship goal is truly impressive,” Nieves said. With the departure of key starters and seniors, next year will be a challenging prospect but one that will truly test the mindset and abilities of the younger players.