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Alice Borovskiy made history for Neshaminy tennis team this past fall
By Jarrad Saffren
Alice Borovskiy enjoyed a historic 2015 season for the Neshaminy girls tennis team.
Borovskiy, a junior, won the number one singles spot in tryouts, went 11-3, and was named the third singles player on the All-Suburban One League National Conference First Team.
Neshaminy had not sent a player to the District One Class AAA singles tournament since 1999. The Redskins had not sent a doubles team to districts since 1990. Borovskiy got to both, reaching the doubles tournament with teammate Kate Benson.
“On the girls side, she’s as good as any player that I’ve ever had,” said Neshaminy boys and girls coach Bill Bech, who has coached high school tennis for 22 years.
Borovskiy’s season is even more impressive when you consider her journey. She was not on anyone’s radar before the season, not even making the Bucks County Courier Times’s list of the top five players to watch in the Suburban One League.
Pat Casey - an instructor at the Northampton Tennis & Fitness Center who works with Borovskiy - was not surprised that she made history.
“Her dedication is different,” he said. “Her mentality with tennis is exactly the same as (former Council Rock South number one player) Dylan Kady’s.
“She’s a full-time Middle States player, on the court all time, training, thinking about it all the time. She even teaches tennis.”
Eugene Mizyulin is Borovskiy’s coach. Casey is one of three instructors who works under Mizyulin. Mizyulin and his team started working with Borovskiy when she was seven.
“She had great hand-eye coordination,” Casey said.
Between the ages of 10 and 14, she was ranked in the top 10 in the Philadelphia area and Middle States area by the United States Tennis Association every year. Casey said her forehand is what set her apart from other players.
“Her forehand was and still is a freaking cannon. I can’t hit as hard as she does,” Casey said.
Borovskiy’s forehand grip has a different type of impact on the ball.
“She uses the continental grip on her forehand,” Casey said. “Nobody does that. When she hits, it’s so flat and hard and low and there’s this loud crack. It’s tough to return. It’s heavy.
“She hits as good as any high school boy or DIII college guy I know.”
Between her freshman and junior seasons at Neshaminy, Mizyulin and Casey helped Borovskiy improve her serve. Bech said the work paid off last season.
“Her serve has gotten the most improvement,” the Redskins’ coach said. “It’s become more of a weapon, an asset to her game.”
Casey and Bech agree that Borovskiy’s enthusiasm may be her best quality.
“It’s through the roof,” Casey said. “She’s one of those kids who would run up to me every Friday when she’d see me and give me a hug. It was really cute. She just loves playing tennis.”
This past season, Bech said Borovskiy channeled her enthusiasm into leadership.
“With the team this year, it was about everybody,” the Neshaminy coach said. “When she was done, she’d encourage other players. Sometimes girls have to wait to get out to play, she’d encourage them. Even the number two player next to her, encouraging her between points and sets. Alice has really grasped the benefit of being part of a team and this year taking it to heart.”
Bech has already named Borovskiy the team captain for 2016.
Naturally, Borovskiy and her coach can’t wait for next season. The Redskins went 8-5 in 2015 with 10 juniors on the roster. All 10 plan not just to return to the team but to work out and play together in the offseason.
“Three girls on the team play privates. The others don’t pick up a racket until next August,” Borovskiy said. “As a captain now, I’m going to push girls to get to clinics so we can get more wins.”
As for college, Borovskiy’s junior season is paying off as expected. She was invited to a USTA showcase on the first Saturday of November.
“There were four girls per court,” said Borovskiy’s mother Yuliya. “They switched courts halfway through. The first court was the strongest. Alice was on the first court, and the feedback was that she was the strongest on the first court.
“Three coaches said that. One texted the same day, a few hours later, that he wants to recruit her.”
The following Monday, Yuliya already had seven emails from coaches—including ones from Wilkes University, Moravian College, and Cabrini College—expressing interest in Alice.
But Alice’s top choice is Kutztown University because of its strong special education program and proximity to Langhorne.
“I can come home on weekends and spend time with my family,” said Borovskiy.
Kutztown’s coaches did not attend the USTA showcase. But one member of the program is already recruiting Borovskiy.
“Their number one player went to Neshaminy,” Borovskiy said. “She texts me a lot, like ‘You have to come here.’”