Stuyvesant Furies 5, Martin Luther King Junior High School 0
The Furies, Stuyvesant’s girls’ handball team, got off to a strong start in their season opener on Wednesday, March 21, with a dominating 5-0 victory against Martin Luther King Jr. High School. The most striking part of this victory was undoubtedly the performance of freshman and first singles player Karen Huang.
Replacing last year’s first singles player, Sweenly Liu (’11) originally brought uncertainties to the Furies. Not only did Liu lead Stuyvesant, she was perhaps the best girls’ handball player in the city.
“People wonder how we’re going to replace one of the best players in the city. You can’t replace one of the best players in the city because everyone’s their own player. Karen’s her own story,” coach Eric Wisotsky said. Her story began to unfold magnificently with her first game coming as a sweeping victory.
With big shoes to fill, Huang performed extraordinarily, leading the Furies to a five game victory over Martin Luther King. And though the Furies dominated all five games, the first singles game is always an important factor in the momentum of a handball match, and there was great pressure on Huang. In the most competitive game of the match, her decisive victory helped secure her position for the rest of the year.
Starting off with an early lead, Huang managed to shut out her opponent for the first seven points of the game. However, the Martin Luther King Jr. coach called a one-minute timeout that at first seemed to throw Huang off her game. In the next two points her opponent scored twice.
After regaining the serve, Huang fought back to a 21-4 victory, but obtained no aces and only had one kill, which led to a prolonged, but still impressive victory. “I was a bit nervous at first, but my team cheered me on, telling me I’d do well, so I just went on and played,” Huang said.
The Furies went on to win the rest of their matches, blowing out Martin Luther King Jr. for a strong start to their season. While they will face stronger teams this season, they have adjusted to the loss of players from last season and hope to continue their success.
Bronx High School of Science Wolverines 5, Stuyvesant Furies 0
The Furies have long dominated the Manhattan division, only losing one game within that division in the past five years. The only team that qualifies as Stuyvesant’s rival is the Bronx Science Wolverines. Handing Stuyvesant two of their three regular season losses in the last five years, Bronx Science has always been competitive with the Furies and will be “the most competition we’re going to face this year,” senior, second doubles player, and co-captain Emily Liang said.
After easily winning the first game of the season against Martin Luther King Junior High School, the tables turned against the Furies when they played the Wolverines on Friday, March 23.
First singles freshman Karen Huang played impeccably in her first game of the season, but was challenged in the second. Losing by three points in the first singles match, 21-18, Stuyvesant lost some of its momentum.
The first doubles match also did not go as planned for the Furies, as Liang, who had hurt her leg in practice the day before, could not play, causing some last-minute changes to the doubles lineup. “Her injury is really upsetting because she is such a vital player on our team. We were counting on her skills to help win our games but she’s going to need a week or two to rest and heal her knee,” senior, second singles player, and cocaptain Wendy Li said.
In a close game, the second doubles team was losing 20-8 but composed itself during a crucial timeout and reentered the match strong. They scored the next 10 points in a row, to bring the game within two, but eventually lost 21-18.
Stuyvesant lost the remaining three games of the match as well, leaving the final score 5-0. However, the Furies remain confident about the rest of the season, acknowledging that this was only the second game for the majority of their starting players.
Reflecting back on the game, and its implications for the season as a whole, one co-captain took a positive look at things. “A loss can also be a gain and the more games we’ll play, the more knowledgeable we’ll be throughout this season,” Li said.
With their biggest challenge of the regular season out of the way, the Furies will try and bring their season around and put themselves back on top of the Manhattan division.