The Peglegs Look to Reclaim Division Title With Young, Talented Team
With a new coach and experienced returners, Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity table tennis team, the Peglegs, look ahead to a successful season.
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After losing in the first round of playoffs last season, Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity table tennis team, the Peglegs, look to reassert their dominance in Division I after falling to Millennium High School last season and finishing second. Millennium finished with a perfect 10-0 regular season record while the Peglegs ended 8-2, with both losses coming at the hands of Millenium. The introduction of a new coach, Mr. Emilio Nieves, and major changes in their lineup will now be deciding factors in the fate of the team.
Though the Peglegs did not lose any seniors, they will have to adjust after two of their seven starting players, sophomores Palak Srivastava and Alyssa Yoo, have decided to leave the team. Srivastava and Yoo, who played first doubles and second doubles, respectively, have decided to sit out this season due to personal reasons. Both players gave the team high hopes for the upcoming season with their fresh talent. Their losses will be difficult to overcome.
However, despite the loss of these two critical players, the Peglegs remain hopeful due to the strong pool of underclassmen. Senior and co-captain Allison Eng still believes the team has fight left in it. “A new player, [freshman] Madison Cheng is on the girls’ tennis team along with [sophomore] Lolita Rozenbaum. They already have team chemistry and will play together, with Cheng replacing those who weren’t able to come back. Also, our top three singles, [senior and co-captain] Katherine Lee, sophomore Kasey Chen], and I all returned this year with fresh minds and experience from last year,” Eng said.
The Peglegs will also have to adjust to a new coach. Former coach Eric Wisotsky made the decision to retire after three years of coaching the Peglegs in order to spend more time with his family. This season, the team will enter the season with Nieves.
Nieves has prepared the team with more structured practices that will help the team’s inability to close out games. While their two losses were a result of 5-0 games, points were often determined by the fifth game. The team had the potential to go undefeated, but players often froze under pressure. Nieves has the players return balls from a ball machine repeatedly for muscle memory on a variety of shots. He has also helped the players learn different techniques and strategies by watching videos. In the past, the team has been a championship team, but since then the team’s improvement has been stagnant while other teams in their division have drastically improved. Hopefully, Nieves’s input and new practice regime can help the team move past that plateau.
The young team under the leadership of Eng, Lee, and Nieves will hopefully revert the Peglegs back into the playoff contenders they were two seasons ago. Wins (or at least a split) against Millennium High School will be crucial if the Peglegs hope to reclaim the division crown. “Playing the top talent of other schools last year gave all of us a lot of experience, so hopefully with new drills and structure practice regime, we will all do a lot better this year,” Eng said.