Team to Watch: Brooklyn Tech
Last season, the girls from the Brooklyn Tech Engineers upended Beacon 3-2 in the PSAL “A” Division Championship to claim the New York City title.
It was a long time coming for the Engineers, who saw their seeding in the playoffs gradually improve year-by-year recently, culminating in a top seeding last year. The team validated that seeding with a dominant run to the finals, and a thrilling victory over New York City powerhouse Beacon.
“I’ve watched the progress of the girls’ team over the past four years. Years ago, the boys and girls both played in the spring season, so we practiced at the same time,” said Scott Anderson, the boys head coach at Brooklyn Tech who was an assistant coach for the girls team last year. “It was exciting watching Nicole [Semenov] come back from a set down to clinch the victory.”
Anderson is now the Head Coach of the girls team as well, taking over for Cristobal Petersen, and entering his first season as he hopes to lead the Engineers back to the city championship.
“I don’t think there will be any major adjustments,” Anderson said of taking over the head coaching role. “Both Cristobal and I emphasize how to play doubles correctly. A lot of kids mostly play singles and are still figuring out the nuances of doubles, so being able to teach that is important.”
If Brooklyn Tech is to repeat, it will have to make up for the loss of its top horses from a year ago: Chelsea Williams and Nicole Semenov.
Williams and Semenov played first and second singles, respectively, for the Engineers, and were two of the top players in all of New York City. They combined to go 13-1 in singles play last year, and will leave some big tennis shoes to fill as the Engineers prepare for this season.
“Losing your top two players is certainly difficult,” said Anderson. “But that is always going to happen in high school tennis. It’s happened many times with the boys’ team. We just have to move the next player into those positions.”
Michelle Kleynerman will be the one to make the jump into the first singles role. Kleynerman played third singles as a freshman last year, and will be tasked with being the leader of the lineup this season.
“I presume Michelle will step into the number one singles spot,” said Anderson. “She is an exceptional player. She practices daily and plays a lot of tournaments, and we are confident that she can step into that role nicely.”
She was an impressive 8-1 last season, including winning all three of her matches en route to the city title, and will look to build off of that in her sophomore season.
Anchoring the doubles lineup will be the first doubles pairing of Alina Abramoff & Maryna Bohdanovska, the junior-senior combination, who bring their experience and chemistry to the lineup. The program also has several talented freshman waiting in the wing and eager to try and make the lineup this season.
With a wealth of young talent and a multitude of experienced players at the top of the lineup, the Engineers are excited for what is to come this season. It is never easy for a team to lose its top two singles players, but Brooklyn Tech still has high expectations for itself and is ready to try and defend its title.
“We should do very well this year and make another run in the playoffs,” said Anderson. “I haven’t done a lot of studying on the other teams and what players they have lost from their teams, but we’re ready. There is no pressure on us. We are just going to go out there and play tennis as usual.”
Players to watch …
►Alleyah Ally, Francis Lewis
►Miriam Aziz, Staten Island Tech
►Kyra Bergmann, Beacon
►Lorraine Bergmann, Beacon
►Christina Huynh, Bronx Science
►Celina Liu, Stuyvesant
►Nadejda Maslova, James Madison
►Emily Moczulski, Cardozo
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org