Park Ridge playing well
With an NJIC-Patriot record of 6-0, Park Ridge is on the verge of its first league title since 2012. The Owls brought back the same lineup from last year and have earned victories over league powers Cresskill and Saddle River Day along the way.
Coach Muhammad Awais said his girls “put in the extra time and effort in the off-season and have played extremely well.”
“We had a feeling we’d be right up there in our league,” Awais said. “We’ve had some breaks go our way. Matches that didn’t go our way last year went our way this year.
“Winning a title would mean a lot to the girls.”
This season, Park Ridge has an outstanding one-two punch at singles with junior Christine Richiez and sophomore Analise Richiez. The Owls’ lineup also includes senior third-singles player Madison Szabo and the doubles pairs of senior Eva Kistler/junior Sabrina Sheridan and senior Megan Kennedy/freshman Mary Grace Craffey.
Ridgefield’s Kim sets record
This fall, Ridgefield senior Juliana Kim set a program record for career singles victories with 47. Melissa Radoncic (Class of 2016) held the previous record with 44.
During her four years, Kim has been the only Scarlet who plays tennis outside of high school. As such, coach Ben Aufiero said she’s been a great role model for her teammates.
“Kim knows how to compete and she’s spread that throughout the entire program,” Aufiero said. “She’s been a consistently great kid and a great teammate and she’s really lifted up the entire program during her tenure here.”
Ridgefield will graduate another terrific senior next spring in Liz Garcia, who played second singles this fall and has 29 career singles wins.
Hitting the hard court
Sofia Lee grew up in Argentina where she played mostly on clay courts. The Cresskill senior says the ball bounces higher on the hard court, comes at you faster and gives you less time to react. That said, Lee prefers the hard courts for another reason.
“It’s less messy,” Lee said. “When you play on clay, it’s always coming up and getting all over your legs. Plus you always have to clean up the lines because the clay covers them up.”
This fall, Lee has posted a 7-2 record at second singles. Senior first-singles player Stephanie Kim tops the lineup, which also includes freshman singles player Sana Varaiya, senior doubles players Katie Jung and Emma Schatz and junior doubles players Anna Park, Lucia Park, Ling Ngai and Giada Evangelista.
Saddle Brook soaring
With five wins already in the books, Saddle Brook is on its way to its best season since 2011 when it posted a 9-5 mark. Coach Valerie Militello gives much of the credit to senior captains Sabrina Sanchez and Gianna D’Alessandro, who gathered their teammates for several practices each week during the off-season.
Sanchez and her classmate Sofie Alegado have teamed up at first doubles and are 5-5.
The team’s lineup also includes seniors D’Alessandro (first singles) and Aneida Kadilli (second singles), sophomores Emma Lee (third singles) and Alison Walby (second doubles) and freshman Stephanie McNamara (second doubles). Both Lee and the Walby/McNamara duo are sporting 7-2 records.
New kid on the court
Victoria Nowobilska played third- and second-singles in her first two seasons at Garfield and recorded just a handful of wins.
This fall, the Boilermaker junior showed up looking like a completely different player and has posted a 6-4 mark. She’s been training at a local racket club where she improved her serve and added a drop shot and slice to her arsenal.
“It was definitely a nice surprise,” Douglas Fede said of her improvement. “She seemed to mature and understand the strategy of the game better … the right shots to win points. Victoria worked really hard over the summer and her extra effort is paying off.
Others contributing to the Boilermakers’ success this season include seniors Lauren Quintana and Melanie Reynoso.