“Just happy to be here” isn’t an endearing term in sports. It’s used when a team has advanced much farther than anyone – even the squad itself – expected them to, but right before they’re smashed by a high-caliber opponent in a championship-level round.
And while Rye Neck’s doubles team of Diana King and Ekim Buyuk – both eighth graders – were visibly ebullient October 28 at the Section 1 Tournament in Ardsley, it was clear they never received the memo about rolling over.
The young Panthers squared off with Nyack’s Kristen Soeder and Clarissa Armada in the first round, and battled to a 3-3 score in the first game. What was an even contest turned from that point, however, as Buyuk and King secured nine straight games to move on to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-0 victory.