Ferrante Got an Early Tennis Start0
By Chuck Slater
Veteran Yorktown High tennis coach Roger Dayer got an early look at the athlete who is Number 1 on his girls tennis team hitting the ball — a very early look. Caitlyn Ferrante was all of three years old. “Her brother Rob was the first man on my boys team,” Dayer related. “When we won the sectional final, his little sister came out on the court and hit with him.” “I used to travel with him all the time,” Caitlyn said. “I started playing when I was three and always hit with him.”
In high school, Rob made it to the quarterfinals at States. Flash forward 14 years or so. Rob Ferrante, now 27, is a tennis teaching pro at the Saw Mill Club where his sister practices. Little sister Caitlyn, now a high school junior, won the state championship as a sophomore — the first Yorktown girl to do so — and is undefeated this season.
“She’s incredibly good and she keeps getting better,” says Dayer, “already the best player we’ve ever had.” Dayer, it might be noted, is in his 28th year of coaching tennis.
“Her serve used to be below the rest of her game,” the coach said, “but she’s picked it up.” “That’s so,” agreed the light-haired 5-foot, 7-inch Ferrante. “And I’m fitter; I work out a lot. So I’m quicker.” And smarter. “She’s got mental toughness and she believes in herself,” the coach said. “She studies her opponent’s game and analyzes how to beat it. Plus she’s got no ego — a tremendous teammate who’s always willing to help the other girls.”
Last year, the sophomore Ferrante did go through the regular season unbeaten but lost in the sectionals to Briarcliff’s unseeded Rachel Lim. But she got to state competition where she avenged the loss to Lim and in the finals defeated Our Lady of Mercy’s Julia Andreach despite losing the first set by 6-1. It was on Halloween, no less.
“She did something at States I doubt has ever been done or ever will be done again,” Dayer said. “She defeated the Number 1, Number 2 and Number 4 seeds in order to win.” Caitlyn Ferrante couldn’t do that this October since she will certainly be a top seed. But she certainly could win again though still only a junior.
So what does she think about a repeat? “That would be awesome!”