The Roselle Park girls’ tennis team turned in another fine season in 2014, fashioning a winning record of 11-9.
The Panthers also posted a winning record in the Mountain Division of the Union County Conference, going 6-4 in league matches.
Head coach Nancy Sturcke will be back next year for her 39th season at the helm.
Here’s a look at how her players performed:
First singles, Niti Shah, senior, (11-9): Last year Shah was 3-13 in her initial season at first singles, so she improved dramatically. “She’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached,” Sturcke said. “She uses many tactics to defeat her opponents.” Shah played at second doubles two years ago, with her and Jasmin Brown posting a 9-8 mark.
Second singles, Jasmin Brown, senior, (12-9): Brown was 12-7 last year at third singles. “She worked on her game and picked it up a notch,” Sturcke said. “She has an outstanding serve and is quick on her feet.” Brown was a co-captain, along with senior Vanessa Vogler.
Third singles, Muriel Olazo, senior, (14-10): A lefty, Olazo was 12-7 at second doubles in 2013. “She adjusted well to singles and learns quickly,” Sturcke said. “She improved as the season progressed.”
First doubles, Michelle Henriques, senior, (11-9): With Olazo last year, Henriques was 12-7 at second doubles. “She has great form and a terrific serve,” Sturcke said. “She hits the ball straight ahead down the ally.”
First doubles, Vanessa Vogler, senior, (12-9): At the same position last year Vogler’s record was 10-5. “She has a steady, terrific serve and knows the game of doubles very well,” Sturcke said.
Second doubles, Morgan Literate, sophomore (13-11): “Another lefty, Literate posted a winning record during her first year on the varsity. “She is physically strong and very smart,” Sturcke said. “She does a nice job at the baseline and at the net.”
Second doubles, Nicole Sychowicz, senior, (5-5): “Nicole is tall, with a nice serve and an effective volley,” Sturcke said.
Second doubles, Lexi Tumblety, sophomore, (6-6): “Lexi has nice ground strokes and works on her game in the off-season. She has a bright future.”
Second doubles, Colleen Sweeney, senior, (2-2): Also a lefty, Sweeney, according to Sturcke, has, “steady ground strokes and moves very steady on the court.”
“This was the first time we had so many left-handed players in the lineup,” Sturcke said.
Other players part of the team this season included senior Noel Cheng, junior Charlotte Sessions and sophomores Alyssa Ortiz and Jacky Chacon.
Roselle Park’s junior varsity team, coached by Kim Haralambopoulos, also posted a winning record of 7-4.
In the Union County Tournament at Plainfield, Literate and Tumblety placed seventh at second doubles. Olazo finished eighth at third singles.
In North 2, Group 1, the Panthers, seeded seventh, reached the quarterfinals, falling at second-seeded Glen Ridge.
New Providence repeated as Mountain Division champions and also defeated Glen Ridge in the N2, G1 semifinals.
“We were competitive in the Mountain Division,” Sturcke said. “We knew that many of those contests would be close. We also played Westfield, Scotch Plains and Governor Livingston from the upper (Watchung) division.”
The Mountain Division consisted of New Providence, Roselle Park, Cranford, Union, Plainfield and Linden.
“My goal was to see if we could get a winning record and we did,” Sturcke said. “All the players worked hard and did improve.”
ROSELLE PARK GIRLS’ TENNIS 2014 (11-9):
FIRST SINGLES: Niti Shaw, senior, (11-9)
SECOND SINGLES: Jasmin Brown, senior, (12-9)
THIRD SINGLES: Muriel Olazo, senior, (14-10)
FIRST DOUBLES: Michelle Henriques, senior, (11-9) and
Vanessa Vogler, senior, (11-9)
SECOND DOUBLES: Morgan Literate, sophomore, (13-11) and
Nicole Sychowicz, senior, (5-5) and
Lexi Tumblety, sophomore, (6-6) and
Colleen Sweeney, senior (2-2)
Noel Cheng, senior
Charlotte Sessions, junior
Alyssa Ortiz, sophomore
Jacky Chacon, sophomore