The high school season in New York City gets underway Monday, Sept. 9, as teams throughout the five boroughs will compete to try and claim a city championship. Last season, Beacon defeated Bronx Science to win the “A” Division Championship, while Queens Inquiry won the Bowl Championship, for the team that wins the city’s “B” Division. Below are some teams and players to watch for in the upcoming 2019 girl’s high school season:
Beacon School once again claimed the city title a year ago, and will be out to make sure it defends it this fall. The team returns the majority of its starting lineup from its championship team last year, including two of its top singles players: Sofia Iantosca and Lorraine Bergmann. The latter’s older sister, Kyra, is one of the key contributors who Beacon has lost to graduation, as she played second singles, but Lorraine will fill in nicely in that second spot to bolster the lineup. Iantosca posted an undefeated record at first singles last year in her freshman season, which only bodes well for her success this year in her sophomore campaign. With an experienced doubles group behind them, including the senior pair of Sofia Shen & Niki Truszkowski, Beacon will once again be a top threat.
Despite being seeded sixth in the tournament, Stuyvesant High School went on a spectacular run in the 2018 playoffs, as it reached the semifinals before losing to runners-up Bronx Science. That experience should only help them when the Lady Lobsters return to the court this season. Despite losing top singles player Celina Liu and Lily Wan at first doubles, Stuyvesant will be led by senior Alyssa Pustilnik and junior Talia Kahan who will anchor the team’s singles lineup, after playing second and third singles, respectively, last year. Palak Srivastava, Lauren Pehlivanian and Mia Gandis are among some of the doubles players who had significant impacts on the team’s success last year, and will be back to do so again in 2019.
Much like Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Technical High School snuck up on some to make a deep run in the playoffs last year. As the fifth seed, the Engineers powered into the semifinals, and will be eager to build on that run this season. Alina Abramoff returns in the first singles spot to lead her team, while Audrey Simon, who went 11-1 in the third singles flight in 2018, will most likely move up in the lineup to the second spot to make up for the loss of outgoing senior Maryna Bohdanovska. Both doubles tandems return to the lineup for Brooklyn Tech, including seniors Jenny Krush and Mira Gupta at the top spot, and sisters Naysa & Oralie Joseph-Gabriel at second doubles, to give the Engineers a talented and experienced lineup that will allow it to contend with the top teams in New York City’s “A” Division.
Led by a top-tier singles lineup, Curtis High School in Staten Island could be in for a big season in 2019. The Warriors were bounced in the first round of the city tournament last year, but it should see a different result this time around. It will have an all-senior singles lineup at all three positions, with Brianna Shaw leading the charge at first singles. Shaw helped lead Curtis to a 9-3 record and one of its best seasons in recent years. Behind her are Julia Holtermann in the second singles spot, and Lila Bruschi in the third singles spot, who will need to provide some lineup depth on a team that loses both of its doubles teams to graduation.
The Queens School of Inquiry
The title of New York City champions resides in Flushing with The Queens School of Inquiry after it captured the “B” Division title and the Bowl Championship last year, and the team should be right in contention to defend that title this season. Shakima Hotaki will look to build on an outstanding sophomore season that saw her post an undefeated 11-0 record at first singles, including a key victory in her team’s 3-2 win over Fort Hamilton in the championship. Dawn Lei and Annabelle Rodriguez will be back to anchor the lineup at second and third singles, respectively, and if Queens Inquiry’s young doubles players are able to step up, the squad should be in prime position to make another playoff run this fall.
Staten Island Tech
Staten Island Tech was upset early in the city playoffs last year as it fell to 15th seed American Studies, which means the Seagulls will be out to redeem itself in 2019. Miriam Aziz, last season’s PSAL Girls Individual Champion and runner-up in the New York State Federation Championships, will return to lead the singles lineup. Aziz went unbeaten in that first singles position last season, and would bolster Staten Island Tech’s chances of getting a top seed in the playoffs if she is able to repeat that. Despite losing its second and third singles players, the Seagulls return all four of its doubles players, which solidify an experienced and deep lineup.
Key Dates (subject to change)
►Monday, Sept. 9: Regular Season Begins
►Saturday, Sept. 28: PSAL Invitational Tournament
►Tuesday, October 15: Regular Season Ends
►Thursday, October 17: Playoffs Begin
►Monday, October 28: “B” Division Championship
►Tuesday, October 29: “A” Division Championship
►Friday, November 1: PSAL Individual Championships
►Thursday-Sunday, November 7-10: Mayor’s Cup Tournament
►Saturday, November 9: New York State Federation Tournament