Harriton seniors hope to leave their mark on Ram tennis program

Philadelphia – Every so often teams are fortunate to land young talent that has the potential to take their respective team to the next level when it comes to wins and losses.
While the Harriton Rams girls’ tennis team can certainly relate to the aforementioned statement, those young players would be the first to credit their senior leaders Sonia Groeneveld, Izzy Lushbough and Kit Meiler for its team success.
“The seniors have been a huge help,” said Nina Hoog following her straight-set win over Exeter Township’s Corrine Grohoski in her team’s 3-0 win in the opening round of the PIAA Class AAA state tournament. “They have been very supportive and super inclusive and it felt so nice that we are able to bond as a team.”
Tuesday, the Rams began its pursuit for a PIAA Class AAA state title when they defeated Exeter Township 3-0 at the Legacy Tennis Center. The doubles tandem of Groeneveld and Shaina Ginsberg earned Harriton’s first point with a straight-set win at second doubles before Nina Hoog earned the second point at third singles before the first doubles team of Lauren Binnion and Sofia Kandoussi clinched the match with a straight-set win of their own.
“It means a lot to get this win,” said Groeneveld. “Last year we did the best a Harriton (girls tennis) team has done at the Class AAA level when we made the semifinals and it would mean so much if we could get further this year.”
While there may be points over the course of the tennis season that players can feel like they are alone on an island, Groeneveld and her fellow seniors knew the importance that they were not alone but part of a close-knit group.
“When I was a sophomore, our captain of the tennis team was Gav Rubenstein who did a great job being inclusive and very organized,” Groeneveld said. “I knew then she was a perfect role model and if I had a chance to be a captain that I wanted to be just like her (Rubenstein).”
With pre-season quickly approaching Groeneveld met with her fellow seniors to make sure a proper game plan to ensure success would be established. As the season rolled on and the Rams continued to show improvement on the court, the off court bonding that had taken place during preseason and continued to grow began to show with everyone cheering for each other after their respective match had ended.
A true turning point came late in the season against Radnor where coach David Broida was forced to use a slightly altered line-up due to an illness to regular player in line-up.
As luck would have it for Harriton, the match came down to fourth doubles featuring junior Alex Miller and freshman Melina Daniilidis, both playing in their first varsity match. With the entire team cheering them on led by the seniors, the pair delivered the clinching point of the match to secure the win and give the hosts an inside track to a second place Central League finish.
Harriton coach David Broida said, “Sonia Groeneveld is not only a co-captain, she’s a born leader, and along with fellow seniors and co-captains Izzy Lushbough and Kit Meiler, serves as a bridge between the rest of the team and me. All three co-captain seniors have contributed to the team’s success this year.”
Hershey may be dubbed “The Sweetest Place on Earth” but if you ask this group of Harriton tennis players they may think that title belongs to the bond their group has formed as they look to have a successful end to a memorable year as they compete in the state tournament that takes place in Hershey.

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