WATERTOWN — Juli Hebert has been coaching Copenhagen tennis for 10 years but has never had a team quite like this one. Her 2019 squad is 8-0 and again showed up big at the Frontier League tournament on Saturday, winning the “B” Division title with four match victories for 51 points. Riley Pierce won at first singles, Peyton Walker won at second singles and both doubles teams won as well.
It’s unprecedented success for the Golden Knights, a success that even caught Hebert and some of her players off-guard.
“You never know, from year to year, you never know what other teams have and stuff like that,” Hebert said. “And we’re always so used to being at the lower level with General Brown, you just never know what can happen.”
However, she knew the group of girls returning were a little different than past years. On top of the experience they returned — there are five seniors — they exhibited an attitude of wanting to improve.
“They have a lot of tenacity, they come out with determination and they really give 150 percent every single time and they’ve been at it a long time,” Hebert said. “I have five seniors and it’s like a cycle, every few years when they’re finally seniors, they really got it and they want to do well.”
The Golden Knights’ biggest strength lies with its two doubles teams, both are a set of a sisters: Samantha and Shannon Aubin at first doubles, and Emma and Anna Spaulding at second doubles. The Aubin sisters are twins and in their senior year. The two have dominated on the court in 2019, and while both are competitive and motivators, they show it in different ways.
“I’m the positive motivator and I’ll be like, ‘we got this,’” Shannon said. “Sam, she’s like ‘Shannon, come on.’”
“I use my strict voice when we’re not doing so well,” Sam chimed in as her sister laughed.
That dynamic was on display in the second set of their doubles match versus General Brown in the Frontier League tournament. After the Lions came back to tie the set at 5-5, the Aubins, showing a little frustration, needed to bear down. After a brief chat they showed authority, hitting the ball a little harder and winning the sixth and seventh game with certainty.
“They’ve been a doubles team since they started with me and I’ve just left them, they’re not good apart, typical twins they don’t do well apart, so I’ve always left them,” Hebert said. “And they’ve come into their own.”
While not actually twins, the Spaulding sisters are just as close.
“We’re already really really close, we’re best friends,” Anna said.
Since it is Emma’s senior year, Anna, a junior, wanted play on a doubles team with her sister. It was the first time that the two had played together on a doubles team, but it hasn’t looked that way.
Such a close relationship off the court has made for an easy transition to a doubles team that, like the Aubins, has dominated the Frontier League.
“We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so we can really bounce ideas off each other and encourage each other to do the best we can,” Anna said. “Our home life has always, I would say it has benefited us on the court being so close already instead of playing with some other stranger or someone you haven’t played with,” Emma added.
With sectionals approaching, Copenhagen, a small school in comparison to some Syracuse area schools, will continue its attitude of focusing on each match.
“Sometimes small is mighty, you know. That’s kind of what we’re looking for, we’re nothing fancy, we are what we are. We’re little Copenhagen, but we’re going to go into sectionals like we are something big,” Hebert said. “Because it’s our first time in years to go. We’re just going to see how far we can go.”