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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 27, 2011

Lady Bird tennis wins Class C

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– It was Voorheesville’s eighth consecutive sectional final for girls’ tennis –– its fifth straight against Maple Hill. Who would win the power struggle?

After Voorheesville won Class C in 2007 and 2008, Maple Hill took the titles in 2009 and 2010. Voorheesville broke the tie last Thursday by beating Maple Hill, 5 to 2.

“It was surreal, amazing, and we’re so happy,” said senior Armine Kurkjian this week. She lost her top-seed match to Erin Duffy, but said that her team really bonded against Maple Hill, which is Voorheesville’s biggest challenge.

“We won’t ever forget this,” Kurkjian added.

Prior to 2007, the Blackbirds had won two Class B titles, too. Head Coach Tom Kurkjian told The Enterprise that his current team, which has seven seniors, had the tricky task of replacing a team that always won titles. “It’s interesting,” he said. “I’m pleased with how far they’ve come.”

 Kurkjian’s daughter, Armine, has played on the team since ninth grade. Jillian Clark, Farrell Brennan, Veronica Peltz, Malarie McGinnis, and Jorie McLeod have been swinging the rackets ever since sophomore year. Mackenzie Klarsfeld came on as a junior.

“I taught all these girls when they were in seventh grade,” said Tom Kurkjian, once a social studies teacher at Voorheesville, now retired. “I don’t see this team going to the finals next year, but it’s been a great run.”

Under Kurkjian, the Lady Birds have been in 16 sectional finals. With the win over the Maple Hill Wildcats in 2011, the team is 8-8 in those matches.

“We’re the two best teams,” Kurkjian said of Voorheesville and Maple Hill. “Both have small communities. There’s nothing but respect between the two.”

Last Thursday marked the third successive time that Armine Kurkjian played Duffy in the finals as the number-one match. Kurkjian beat Duffy in 2009, but lost the last two times. “We’re not friends or anything, but I always look forward to her challenge,” Kurkjian said.

The winds were swirling against Maple Hill this season, which made play more difficult. Coach Kurkjian said that the biggest turn-around of the day was when Brennan came back to win her match after being blanked (0-6) in the second set against Taylor Wood.

“I was wondering what happened, but she said she was slicing her backhand,” Kurkjian said of Brennan. “I expressed my confidence in her and she goes up, 3 to 0, in the final set. She solved the problem.”

Clark’s number-two match against Seema Bhaskar went hit-for-hit, Kurkjian said, and gave Voorheesville the win. Clark won, 7-6, 6-3. “Best spectator match of the day,” said Kurkjian. “You didn’t know who would win. Outstanding. A third set would have been fun.”

Coach Kurkjian said that the Lady Birds showed enthusiasm, mental toughness, and gave great tennis performances this season. Everything fell in Voorheesville’s favor.

“The girls were all singing at dinner,” Kurkjian said. “That’s nice.”

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