A Remarkable Win: Boys’ Varsity Tennis Beats Cross-Town Rival Pioneer for the First Time Ever


The Skyline Varsity Boys’ Tennis Team poses with the District Trophy after winning Districts at Pioneer High School. Credit: Zosia Casterline

After thirteen years of challenging losses, the Skyline Boys’ Varsity Tennis team has finally beaten rival school Ann Arbor Pioneer. On September 8th, the team traveled across town to face off against Pioneer, who has beaten Skyline in tennis every year since the school opened in 2008.

This time was different though. Skyline won five matches out of the eight they played, giving them the first program win in school history.

In singles, Anthony VanOyen (‘23), Connor Wilcox (‘26), and Arya Joshi (‘23) all won their matches. 

In doubles, Luke Williams (‘23) and Arjun Joshi (‘24) as well as Daniel Rogers (‘23) and Nikash Bhagat (‘24) came out on top.

Beating Pioneer was top of mind for the team this season. “In our first team meeting of the year, the team discussed goals for the season,” said head coach Zosia Casterline. “At the top of the list was beating Pioneer. After 13 years of losing, finally breaking through was certainly a highlight of the year.” 

The team was more confident in their abilities to win this year than they had been in previous years. “We were more prepared than we have been in the past,” said Lance Caswell (‘23).

“We knew [we were going to win] before we even got there,” said Arya Joshi.

Pioneer’s strategic playstyle is part of what makes them so hard to beat. “Pioneer is known for baiting people to the net and lobbing over them,” remarked Francis Wang (‘23). “The strategy to beat Pioneer is to be aggressive and win points at the net.”

The team once again performed incredibly well against Pioneer and other local schools in the District Tournament hosted by Pioneer in early October, taking home the regional trophy. They ended their season last week at the State Tournament in Holland at Hope College.