Senior spirit at the heart of Windsor High School girls' tennis

By Kathryn Elliott - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Thu., May. 24, 2012
Helen Nguyen makes a diving forehand for Windsor during the team's 4-3 victory over East Hartford on May 11. Photos by Kathryn Elliott.
Helen Nguyen makes a diving forehand for Windsor during the team's 4-3 victory over East Hartford on May 11. Photos by Kathryn Elliott.

“The best part of this entire year has been how close we have become as a team,” said Windsor High School senior tennis team manager Crystal Gilbert. “We’ve bonded from the first day of practice.”

Joining Gilbert, five seniors make up the heart of Windsor’s hard-court presence - Serena Sundara (C), Erin Gillane (C), Afshan Syal, Shreevie Periyasamy and Michelle Nguyen. Each contributing a variety of skill, tennis smarts and sprit, the senior leaders have made the 2012 season one to remember.

“We lost four singles players to graduation in 2011,” three-year head coach Amy Roebelen said, “and I wasn’t sure how this year would be.” At 5-11 with two matches remaining, Windsor will finish stronger than 2011. “Last year we only won three matches, so we actually had a better record this year,” the coach said. “The captains [Sundara and Gillane] were really good motivators and they definitely gelled as a team,” Roebelen said.

Sundara, a tennis player since the seventh grade, attributed the team’s winning attitude to their ability to come together in the tough times. “No matter how we played in a particular match, my favorite memories this year are the times we just spent together, like the bus rides and picnics,” she said.

Gillane, a doubles contributor, will take away multiple treasured moments from her time on the team. “I can’t name one specific thing, but I will take away great memories, and a great group of friends,” she said.

In the number-one singles spot for the Warriors, junior Tyler Jennings-Peczka batters the competition with consistent ground strokes and the height and speed necessary to dominate at the net. “I’ve played since I was 4,” she said. “I tried track instead as a freshman, but I missed tennis and decided to come out for the team.” Jennings-Peczka cited her win over New Britain as a season highlight. “We both wanted to win and it came down to who wanted it more; it was a great moment for me,” she said.

“This was a rebuilding year, but the girls responded well,” Roebelen said. “We have some promising freshmen, so we are excited for next year, too.”

A full Warriors’ season recap can be found at

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