Young Feigelsons lead Millbrook tennis with sibling rivalry

Young Feigelsons lead Millbrook tennis with sibling rivalry

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Young Feigelsons lead Millbrook tennis with sibling rivalry

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Millbrook High School boys tennis player Daniel Feigelson takes a swing on the court.

Millbrook High School boys tennis player Daniel Feigelson takes a swing on the court.

The top two players on Millbrook High School’s boys tennis team don’t often discuss tennis.

And, like a pair of veterans with a long-standing rivalry, they refuse to reveal all aspects of their skills when practicing together.

Of course, that’s not so uncommon for a brother and sister.

“I don’t teach her every trick I know,” Daniel Feigelson said of his sister, Sofia. “I don’t want her to know more than me!”

And, despite their wily ways, the Feigelsons can’t yet be considered veterans, either. Though he now has two years of varsity experience, Daniel Feigelson is still in the eighth grade, and Sofia, now at the end of her rookie season, is in the seventh grade.

Not that that stopped them from powering the Blazers’ efforts this season, or stopped opposing coaches from zeroing in on Millbrook’s first- and second-singles players.

“It’s spectacular,” Millbrook coach John Tringali said. “The other team is very focused on the two of them. They’ve done very well. It’s been amazing to watch them grow and they’ve been key components in how well we’ve done.”

Millbrook High School's Sofia Feigelson steadies to hit the ball.

Millbrook High School’s Sofia Feigelson steadies to hit the ball.

Daniel Feigelson qualified for the Section 9 tournament, which runs May 24-25 at the Goshen Sports Complex, by reaching the semifinals of the Mid-Hudson Athletic League tournament earlier this week. He made it to the finals but lost to top-seeded Jarrett Monte of Wallkill, 6-0, 6-2.

The eighth-grader credited “consistency and shot placement” as the key to his success this season.

“I am pretty good at keeping the ball in play and having my opponents make the first mistake,” Daniel Feigelson said.

Sofia Feigelson, likewise competed in the MHAL tournament, but lost 6-2, 6-2 to Tomas Pesko-West of Onteora in the first round.

Millbrook does not have a girls tennis team, so the seventh-grader had no choice but to play on the boys team. At first, it made her apprehensive. But, that soon subsided.

“The truth is, I was a little nervous at first playing in matches with the boys, some of whom are in 12th grade and have beards!” she said. “But I started to think to myself that there is probably more pressure on my opponents because no one wants to lose to a seventh-grade girl!”

And, their ages do not convey their experience in the sport.

Daniel Feigelson picked up tennis in fourth grade, and thereafter began playing in United States Tennis Association tournaments. Sofia Feigelson became interested in the sport just by observing her brother, and likewise started playing in fourth grade.

“I got started after going to watch Daniel’s clinic,” she said. “Instead of just watching, I decided I wanted to go on the court and play.”

Since, however, Sofia Feigelson’s journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

During a close match two years ago at a tennis clinic, she became nervous. Her anxiety reached a level in which she began to hyperventilate.

Her brother had no idea what to make of the situation.

“I think she was so nervous competing against an opponent and felt so much pressure,” Daniel Feigelson said. “The tennis pros had to lie her down on a couch and put an ice pack on her head.  At the time, I thought this was somewhat amusing.”

Sofia Feigelson can laugh about it now.

“Well, I did not think the hyperventilating was so funny at that time,” she said, “but I guess it is now. I have long gotten over that.”

These days, Millbrook’s opponents are likely the nervous ones. Daniel Feigelson’s form and backhand are two facets of his game that coach Tringali has praised. The coach also credited Sofia Feigelson’s work ethic.

But while the brother-sister tandem has several years of Section 9 competition ahead of them, it’s during family matches in which the competition can get most intense.

“I can tell he gets frustrated when I win a game off him,” Sofia Feigelson said, “which happens more than you think.”

A.J. Martelli: amartelli@poughkeepsiejournal.com, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports

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Young Feigelsons lead Millbrook tennis with sibling rivalry
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