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Girls Tennis
High School Fall Sports Preview

by Staff

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Bishop Eustace graduated a terrific first singles in Caitlin Deffler, who reached the third round of the state singles tournament and the semifinals of the South Jersey Interscholastic Championships (SJIC) last year as a senior. Second singles Sydney Sperling, who combined with Deffler to post a 37-3 record in team matches, also received her diploma. The good news is that four starters return, including senior Carly Reagan. A contributor since her freshman year, Reagan played third singles as a junior and could be ready to move into the first or second spot. Senior Danielle Venuto played first doubles last year and was part of a team that reached the round of 16 at the SJIC. Seniors Katie Bjorklund and Marissa Stambaugh played second doubles together and will be key players as well. Seniors Noelle Nigrelli and Isabel Hagerty and sophomore Isabella Anzideo are also expected to compete for starting positions.
OUTLOOK: The Crusaders’ 13-7 record in 2018 included a trip to the sectional final as the sixth seed, thanks to upset wins in the quarterfinals and semis. Although there are big spots to fill in the lineup, Eustace is competitive year in and year out, so this season should be no different.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cherokee will have a new first singles for the first time since 2015 following the graduation of Sanjana Panjala, who held the position for four years and made the all-conference first team as a senior. One of the candidates is senior Kelly McVeigh, who made the jump from second doubles to third singles as a junior. Senior Carly Fronczak is another important returner who has played first doubles the last two seasons and should be ready to move into a singles spot. Sophomore Estelle Wang played second doubles as a rookie and other returners looking to contribute are senior Christianna McFadden and junior Hannah Diedolf.
OUTLOOK: The Chiefs notched two big upsets in the playoffs last year and went on to reach the sectional semifinals before finishing with an 8-11 record. The lineup will look much different this year but they hope to show improvement throughout the season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Five starters are back for Cherry Hill East, including the entire singles line- up. Senior Pallavi Goculdas, who has played first singles the last two years, reached the final of the South Jersey Interscholastic Championships last season and won two matches at the state singles tournament. She is primed for a big final campaign. Senior second singles Sanjana Doshi joined Goculdas on the all-conference first team and posted a 14-5 record during team matches. Senior Mari Kimenker competed at third singles and compiled an impressive 18-3 mark in team matches. Both of the Cougars’ doubles teams reached the semifinals of the South Jersey Interscholastic Championships and made the all-conference first team. Senior Michaela Kennedy is back from the first team and senior Naomi Korn returns from the second duo. Junior Sophia Pavlenko and sophomore Elliana Tonghini are other returners looking to have an impact.
OUTLOOK: The Cougars’ 17-4 overall record included a perfect mark in the Olympic Conference American Division, and they also claimed the South Jersey Group IV title after reaching the final for the seventh time in eight years. They have the talent and experience to contend again, and Goculdas will be a player to watch at the major tournaments.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cherry Hill West graduated four starters, including all three singles players, but is happy to welcome back three juniors who started as sophomores. Rosemary Villatoro has competed at first doubles each of the last two seasons and could be ready to make the jump to singles. Either way, she will fill an important role. Sarah Kim and Leann He both broke into the starting lineup last year, playing second doubles together. Junior Cassidy Mazer also gained doubles experience and Abby Dubitsky is another junior hoping to contribute.
OUTLOOK: The Lions have some promising returners to build around and hope to take small steps as a program this fall.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sophomore Carlee Cristella earned the second singles spot as a freshman and responded with an impressive rookie campaign, as she posted a 14-3 record during team matches and reached the quarterfinals of the Gloucester County Tournament. She will look to move into the top spot this fall. Senior Madeeha Fatima is another key returner who played first doubles and could potentially transition to singles. Other starters who are back in the mix are senior Grace D’Amico and junior Samantha Deeney, who competed at second doubles together. Seniors Heike Richardson and MaryAnn Vazhapilly and junior Maeve Porter are also expected to contend for starting jobs.
OUTLOOK: The Pioneers, who went 10-7 last year, always seem to be in the running for a winning record and a division title, and they’re hoping that’s the case again in 2019. It will also be exciting to see what Cristella can do in her second season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Eastern was hit hard by graduation, with the entire singles lineup and a doubles starter moving on. Senior Lexi Levin has been a fixture in the lineup the last two years, including a spot on the first doubles team last season, and could be ready to lead the team from a singles position. Seniors Joanne Lee and Antigone Antonakakis are other important returners who competed together at second doubles. Other returners hopeful of earning starting jobs are seniors Samantha Frankel and Laura Frantz, and several varsity newcomers will round out the lineup.
OUTLOOK: The Vikings’ 7-8 record in 2018 featured two playoff wins as the 11th seed and a berth in the sectional semifinals. This could be somewhat of a rebuilding year but they should stay competitive at the same time.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior McKayla Labbree, Gloucester Catholic’s No. 1 singles since her freshman year, has been forced to the sidelines this season due to several nagging injuries, leaving a void at the top of the lineup. Sophomore Erin Walton could be ready to fill the position after earning the third singles spots as a rookie. She should only get better in her second season of varsity tennis. Sara Reed, another sophomore, started at first doubles last year and could be ready to move into a singles role. The Rams are looking to fill out the rest of the starting lineup with several varsity newcomers, including members of the freshman class.
OUTLOOK: Facing a shortage of players, Gloucester Catholic coach Brandon Dougherty was actively recruiting throughout the preseason in hopes of competing this season. The Rams will attempt to field a young squad eager for improvement.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Five starters are back for Haddonfield, including all three singles players. Senior Molly Parks earned the No. 1 spot as a junior and posted a 24-14 record; she also won the Colonial Conference title and reached the Camden County Tournament semifinals. Senior Gillian Rozenfeld played second singles and compiled a 25-8 record, while junior Lily Hanna filled the third position and went 28-9 with an appearance in the conference final. Parks and Rozenfeld both competed in the state singles tournament as well. Seniors Anna Swartley and Stella DeMarco also return after playing first doubles together and capturing titles at the South Jersey Interscholastic Championships and both the conference and county tournaments. Seniors Belle Romea, Charlotte George and Anna Tucker and junior Kate Morris saw time on varsity and helped the JV team post a 21-3 record last year. They will all be contending for starting doubles positions this fall.
OUTLOOK: With so many important pieces of the starting lineup back from a 23-5 season, the Bulldawgs are aiming for their 18th straight sectional title and hope to contend for a state championship as well.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Almost all of the starting lineup graduated, so Kingsway will have a much differ- ent look this fall. The only familiar face belongs to senior Alexis Kaplan, who emerged as the third singles as a junior and responded by posting a solid 9-6 record during team matches. She will look to earn the No. 1 spot in her final season. Olivia Meyer is another experienced player who played singles as a sophomore but missed last season. Several members of the JV team will be counted on to move up and fill out the rest of the lineup.
OUTLOOK: Kingsway went 13-3 last fall—its most wins in a season since 2010—and reached the sectional quarterfinals. A new crop of Dragons will look to continue the winning culture.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Ami Patel made the leap from doubles to second singles as a junior and held her own against top-level competition. She could be in line to take over at No. 1 this fall as a senior. Three sophomores who earned starting positions as rookies are also back and should only get better with a year of experience on their résumés. Amanda Geraci played first doubles, while Grace Huang and Arti Singh were partners at second doubles. Seniors Ana Carney and Miranda Toner and junior Alexandra Zoubrilov are also looking to make an impact.
OUTLOOK: Last year was a rebuilding one for the Indians, who figure to be much improved with several promising players back in the mix.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Almost all of the starting lineup returns for Moorestown, including three senior singles players. Emma Regovich has been a starter since her freshman season and moved into the No.1 slot as a junior, while Grace Leese held down the second spot. Both made the round of 16 at the South Jersey Interscholastic Championships. Julia McBride played mostly third singles and compiled an impressive 19-4 record. Junior Paige O’Neil competed at first doubles as a sophomore and was part of the team that advanced to the final of the SJIC. Seniors Sowmya Bulusu and Julia Sullivan were partners at second doubles last year, and the experience they gained should help them contribute even more this year. The Quakers also have a lot of depth, with 10 players right on the cusp of breaking into the starting lineup.
OUTLOOK: After 27 straight years with a sectional championship, Moorestown fell short of its goals in 2016 and 2017. The Quakers returned to the top last fall, claiming the crown in South Jersey Group III and advancing to the state final before finishing with a 19-4 record. It would not be surprising to see a new streak start this season with another sectional crown.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: This fall will mark the end to Renna Mohsen-Breen’s fantastic career at Moorestown Friends, and she is sure to add to her already long list of accomplishments. The senior has played first singles every year since she was a freshman, and last season she won the Burlington County title for the third time and prevailed in the South Jersey Interscholastic Championships as well. Mohsen-Breen—whose only loss came in the quarterfinals of the state singles tournament—will once again be one of the elite players across New Jersey. Right behind her is sophomore Bella Pescatore, who grabbed the second singles position as a rookie, reached the quarterfinals of the SJIC and won a pair of matches at the state singles tournament. Senior Elena Styliades rounds out the terrific singles lineup, as she played third last year and won 19 matches during team play. Three of last year’s doubles starters also return: seniors Sasha Zakevat and Amanda Augustino at one, along with junior Natalie Julian at two. Other experienced players who will push for spots are senior Bailey Butterworth and sophomore Skye Mada, along with many of the players from last year’s 11-0 JV team.
OUTLOOK: A memorable 2018 season was highlighted by the Foxes’ first-ever state championship on their way to a 20-2 record. A repeat performance is certainly within reach and Mohsen-Breen will be a factor at all of the individual tournaments.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Paul VI graduated a stellar senior class that helped the program improve by leaps and bounds over the last four years. The only returning starter is junior Erin Vermette, who played second doubles as a sophomore and was part of a duo that won 10 matches during team play. She will most likely move into a singles position and take on a leadership role now that she’s an upperclassman. Seniors Emily McHugh and Meghan Diane Conway are other returners who will be counted on, along with sophomore Emma Foursha, who showed a lot of promise during the Camden County Tournament. The rest of the lineup will be filled by varsity newcomers.
OUTLOOK: The Eagles had a season to savor last year, as they went 16-3 overall and claimed the Olympic Conference National Division title. It will be difficult to contend again with a brand-new lineup, but they will look to retool with an eye on the future.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Ariana Brown is looking forward to a big senior season after earning the No. 1 singles spot the last two years for Seneca. She is one of four returning starters, including the first doubles pair of senior Ella Worrell and junior Rylee Morrison, who had a strong season together but could move into singles positions this fall. Junior Kierstyn Fenimore is another returner who competed at second doubles. Junior Lara Narkiewicz and sophomore Abigail Lewis are expected to have an impact as well.
OUTLOOK: Seneca went 15-5 with a trip to the sectional semifinals last year. With a solid core in place, they are optimistic of their chances of contending for a division title and going on a long playoff run in 2019.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Shawnee graduated a strong senior class, including first singles Davica Massaro, but has several promising returners to rebuild around. Junior Ella Purfield started last year at first doubles and moved to third singles late in the season. The experience should prove valuable as she most likely transitions to a full season at singles. Another key veteran is junior Mary Kate Clapperton, who ended up at first doubles last year and could also be ready to fill a singles spot. Senior Rebecca Chernoff and junior Emily Speiser competed at second doubles together and will be counted on as well. Several newcomers will round out the lineup.
OUTLOOK: The Renegades reached the sectional quarterfinals in 2018 and finished with an 11-6 record, the sixth straight year they recorded at least 11 wins. Extending that streak with a lot of new faces on the roster will be a challenge, but it is one they are eager to take on.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Most of last year’s roster graduated, but Washington Township is happy to welcome back seniors Clara Fok and Kylee Jones, who are both three-year starters. Fok made the jump from second doubles to singles last year, competing in both the second and third spots. The experience should pay dividends this fall. Jones played doubles for the second year in a row, seeing time at both the first and second position. She was part of the second-place duo at the Gloucester County Tournament, as both Washington Township teams reached the final. Paige Tatus and Kristina Diaz are other seniors hoping to contribute, and several players moving up from the JV team will look to emerge as varsity starters.
OUTLOOK: The Minutemaids went 8-6 last season—their first winning record in four years—and claimed the Gloucester County team title for the first time since 2012. With Fok and Jones helping the new girls adjust to varsity tennis, this squad should improve as the season goes on.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 5 (July 2019).
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