With four juniors in the starting lineup, including at all three singles positions, the Roselle Park girls’ tennis team may be primed to put together a more highly-successful season next year in terms of wins and losses.
However, at the moment, a lineup consisting of only one true returning starter is getting valuable experience. Those players are also proving to be quite competitive as the Panthers began the week with five victories in their first 11 matches, including a state tournament setback to Metuchen.
“We’re down a bit this year, losing six of seven starters to graduation,” said head coach Nancy Sturcke, who is in her 39th season at the helm of the Panthers.
Roselle Park is situated in the Union County Conference’s middle division – the Mountain Division – and competes this year, home and away, against the likes of Plainfield, Cranford, Linden, Union and Governor Livingston.
“It’s very challenging tennis when going up against those programs,” Sturcke said.
At first singles is junior Morgan Literate, who is the only returning starter from last year where she played at second doubles. Her record was 5-7 as of Monday.
“It’s a big jump from second doubles to first singles,” Sturcke said. “Morgan is a smart player who is showing more consistency.”
At second singles is junior Lexi Tumblety, who at times last year played with Literate at second doubles. Tumblety began the week 5-6.
“Lexi has terrific groundstrokes and top spin and depth,” Sturcke said.
At third singles is junior Jacky Chacon, who sported a 7-5 record as the week commenced.
“Jacky is physically strong and improving on her consistency,” Sturcke said.
This year’s first doubles tandem includes senior Charlotte Sessions and junior Nicole Piriz. Sessions was 6-6 and Piriz 6-4.
“Charlotte is tall, very effective at the net and has good footwork,” Sturcke said. “Nicole is steady at the baseline, quick and has a nice net game.”
At second doubles are seniors Jessica Cheng and Hetshri Patel. They both began the week with records of 8-4.
“Jessica and Hetshri have good placement with their groundstrokes and an eye for the opening,” Sturcke said. “Both are improving their consistency.”
Among its final competition, Roselle Park began the week still with league matches against Plainfield and Union. Roselle Park was defeated by Plainfield the first time and beat Union the first time.
The Panthers went 0-2 against Cranford and GL in league play and 2-0 vs. Linden.
The Union County Tournament is scheduled to continue tomorrow at Plainfield, with Roselle Park’s second doubles team still alive and in line to finish among the top eight at their position.
ROSELLE PARK GIRLS’ TENNIS 2015
FIRST SINGLES: Morgan Literate, junior
SECOND SINGLES: Lexi Tumblety, junior
THIRD SINGLES: Jacky Chacon, junior
FIRST DOUBLES: Charlotte Sessions, senior
and Nicole Piriz, junior
SECOND DOUBLES: Jessica Cheng, senior
and Hetshri Patel, senior
Alyssa Ortiz, junior
Kaitlyn Kirkpatrick, junior
Anisa Becaj, junior
Olivia Kamienski, junior
Erin Kennedy, junior
Pooja Amin, freshman
Alexis Kutkerka, freshman
15 players coached by