HARRISON, N.Y. – The Ryesing Stars of the Rye Racquet Club in Harrison will leave this week for the United States Tennis Association Nationals in Arizona that will take place from Friday to Sunday.
The 4.0 team led by captain and Harrison native Randi Coppola won its sectional tournament and will now compete at the national level for the third time since 2004.
The group went as a 2.5 team in 2004, though Coppola was not on the team yet. They went again as a 3.0 team in 2006 and went as far as the sectional tournament in 2008 and 2009 as a 3.5 team.
The numbers signify the team’s skill level. A number of 2.5 or 3.0 is considered basic, while 3.5 is intermediate. This year, the Ryesing Stars moved up to the 4.0 level and have once again moved on to nationals after several years together.
“It’s a real bonding experience even though it’s happened to us three times,” Coppola said. “So Rye Racquet has a lot of success in USTA historically.”
Coppola also said that playing at this unprecedented level would be a hard task for the team.
“Moving to the national level is going to be difficult. It’s going to be a really, really awesome challenge,” Coppola said. “We’re competing against women who, like ourselves, are at the brink of the 4-5 level. That’s no joke tennis.”
Unfortunately, Coppola will not play in the tournament as she injured her knee in July and is recovering from knee surgery. She has worn a brace for weeks but will still be there to root for her teammates.
“I can’t play tennis again, can’t even look at a court before January,” Coppola said. “As a captain, I’ve been cheering the team on from the sidelines.”
The team will play three matches in pool play to start the tournament. If the Ryesing Stars win their pool, or flight, they move on to the semifinals.
Coppola said some of the women would leave on Wednesday or Thursday, while two of the players will be on business in Las Vegas and will drive to Arizona.
Her partner, Rye native Kate Jennings, has been on the team since its inception and captains the 9.0 mixed doubles team, on which a man and a woman with a combined skill level of 9.0 play together. Jennings’ mixed doubles team is also going to nationals from Nov. 8 through 10.
The teams at the Rye Racquet Club have had much success in recent years, and this year has been no different. Coppola said the biggest point of pride for her is that her team has made it to a level that fewer than 20 other teams in the nation have reached.
“That’s pretty cool. Most of us are housewives who may have picked up tennis late in life,” Coppola said. “To be among the 17 best teams at your level in the country is pretty cool.”