Caitlyn Ferrante accomplished a bit of history for Yorktown on Monday.
Despite losing in the Section 1 tournament final to Briarcliff’s Rebecca Lim, Ferrante was able to clinch a spot at the state tournament this past weekend at Sound Shore Indoor Tennis in Port Chester, becoming the first girl from Yorktown’s program to do so.
The sophomore took it a step further, marching all the way to the final, which included a revenge win over Lim in the quarterfinals, and on the morning of Halloween, defeated Our Lady of Mercy’s Julia Andreach 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 to claim the state’s singles title.
Ferrante spoke with The Journal News/lohud on Tuesday about how she was able to come back in that final match, as well as how she got into the sport.
When your final game was at match point, how did it feel when you won?
I was just so excited and so happy that I was able to finish. I knew I could do it, but it was surreal that I actually won. It was so crazy.
How realistic did you think winning states was at the start of the year?
When I made it to states, I actually said to my coach after I lost the sectional final, I said to him “I’m going to do it. I’m going to win states,” so now that happened, it’s actually crazy. I was actually joking with him when I said that, but that it actually happened was pretty crazy.
You lost your first set 6-1, what do you think was going wrong and how were you able to turn it around?
I was a little nervous at the beginning and very tense, and Julia came out playing so well, she was hitting really good serves. The second set, I won the first game and got some momentum and I just started playing to her weaknesses. Her forehand started to break down a little bit, and I just kept playing the way I was and it was working, so I kept at it. After I won that set, I knew I could do it.
Now that some time has passed, does winning the title still feel surreal?
Yeah, it is still. I’m the first girl to have ever won states at my school, or even qualify for states. Everyone is just congratulating me, it feels like it’s not even real, but it is. It’s crazy. I’m just really proud of the way I played.
How did you get into tennis?
My brother, Rob, he started playing, he’s 27 now, I basically grew up watching him play at tournaments, I traveled with him. He’s a really good player and everything, I kind of fell into that, and that’s how I started. I started playing when I was around five. I just loved it, and I still do.
Between you and Rob, who’s the better tennis player?
Well, he only made it to the quarterfinals at states, so I beat him that. He’s so happy for me though, and he was there watching.
What do you think you’ll have to do to defend your title?
I just have to work really hard and have the same mindset that I came into states with. I’m just going to do my best and try my hardest the whole season and try to make it to states, and then if I make it, just keep going like I did this year.
After the tournament, were you able to celebrate Halloween?
No, it was kind of annoying, it’s my favorite holiday but I had to miss it. I’m going to go to dinner this weekend, but I had so much work to do because I missed (Monday) and I didn’t do homework over the weekend, so I have to do that.
I assume missing Halloween was worth it, though?
Oh yeah, definitely!