Women’s Tennis Takes No El’s on Senior Day
By Savannah Graziano
Senior day, a longstanding Northside tradition for student-athletes, is long anticipated and well-deserved by all members of Northside sports teams. The event honors the years of hard work that seniors have put into a team with a fun, themed day full of food, gifts, and decorated lockers, all of which is planned by underclassmen on the team. On Sept. 24, women’s tennis kicked off the excitement and had the first senior day of the school year. Their theme: trains of Chicago.
With each senior given the name of one of Chicago’s famous El lines, the senior’s lockers were decorated with colorful paper topped with glossy pictures. Each athlete was given a hair accessory and corsage the color of their line, along with a gift from the team. At the court, there were banners and balloons hung for each senior and buffet tables full of food and treats for everyone who attended. The whole team gathered for pictures and coach Darlene gave the seniors more carefully planned gifts. Captain Audrey McManus, Adv. 900, thanked her team and coaches for their efforts, saying, “It was so weird being on this end of senior day because I am so used to helping plan the events and gifts, and I know that it’s a lot of work. Our team this year did an amazing job and all of the seniors were really blown away.”
As the festivities wound down, it was time for the teams to announce matches and players to exchange formalities. Before announcing their matches, Northside underclassmen introduced the seniors to the crowd. Each senior was given a short speech sharing a special memory and quality of the senior that makes them important both to the underclassman speaking and the team as a whole. Soon afterwards, the varsity matches were announced. Jennifer Labak, Adv. 204, played first singles, Tanvi Bagal, Adv. 103, and Hannah Kaczor, Adv. 207, played first doubles, Madeline Yu, Adv. 000, played second singles, McManus and Georgia Bates, Adv. 910, played second doubles, and last, but not least, Minseo Kim, Adv. 906, and Isabella McLaughlin, Adv. 900, played third doubles. Seniors Emmanuelle Williamson, Adv. 908, and Sofia Frumkin, Adv. 904, played second doubles for junior varsity and rounded out the list of six seniors, and one manager, Matthew Villalon, Adv. 903, celebrated by the team.
After pairing up with their opponents, the players went to their respective courts to warm-up. By hitting practice shots across the net, players can get a feel for their opponent, settle in their court, and find a rhythm to carry them through the games.For those who don’t know how tennis works, the games are scored at four levels; point, game, set, match. Points are the smallest unit of scoring. They start at 0 (“love”) and increase in set intervals, 15, 30, 40, ending at “game.” In order for an individual or pair to win a game, they must win by two points. The next level of scoring, a set, is composed of games, requiring an individual, or pair, to win six games, and they must win by two. The final level of scoring is a match, which requires an individual or pair to win the majority of three sets. The team that wins the most overall matches is victorious.
Matches went on as expected with Northside’s varsity team beating Taft at almost every level. Yu, playing second singles, celebrated an exciting victory by winning two consecutive sets. Doubles teams McManus and Bates, as well as Kim and McLaughlin, won in a similar fashion. In first singles, Labak put her heart in the game, matching the Taft player point by point, but falling just short of a victory. Her loss was still celebrated by her teammates who were proud of her continued efforts. McManus says, “We have a lot of young talent on our team and I can’t wait to come back in future years to see how they grow as players on the team and as individuals at Northside”
But the excitement didn’t stop there. At the ends of their matches, players were congratulated by the audience; seniors and underclassmen alike stayed behind to root for their teammates. McLaughlin expresses her gratitude both for the season and day, stating, “This year, the team was super supportive to one another. Although tennis is a very individualistic sport, most of the team usually stayed to watch others play and would cheer them on! My favorite part about senior day specifically was that a lot of our friends and family came to watch and support our team, the food and candy was great too!”