For the 32nd time in her 40 seasons as the head coach Nancy Sturcke guided the Roselle Park girls’ tennis team to a winning season.
After competing in the North 2, Group 1 playoffs the Panthers won three of four matches down the stretch to clinch finishing above .500 for the season.
Roselle Park fashioned a final record of 9-7 that included a 6-4 mark for third place in the Mountain Division of the Union County Conference.
Two teams on the schedule that the Panthers were not able to play – Johnson and Bloomfield – were opponents that Roselle Park defeated a year ago.
“I was quite pleased with our efforts,” Sturcke said. “We gave our best.”
Roselle Park first finished tied for ninth out of 17 schools in the Union County Tournament at Plainfield, with Summit and Kent Place sharing the championship.
The Panthers then reached the North 2, Group 1 quarterfinals, defeating McNair of Jersey City at home 3-2 and then falling at eventual champion and overall Group 1 champ New Providence 5-0.
A milestone victory was achieved on Sept. 26 in Rahway when Roselle Park defeated the host Indians 4-1. It was the 500th triumph for Sturcke, who finished her coaching career this season with a final record of 504-269-2 (.652).
Roselle Park had a varsity roster that included 12 players. A junior varsity team, guided by former player and 2004 graduate Melissa Rinaldi, had 15 players and concluded with a record of 4-6.
Returning varsity starters included seniors Morgan Literate at first singles and Lexi Tumblety at second and seniors Jacky Chacon and Nicole Piriz, now playing together at first doubles.
Literate fashioned an 8-10 mark at the always-challenging first singles slot. She was 9-10 during her first year at first singles a year ago.
“Morgan faced a lot of tough competition,” Sturcke said. “She never gave up and always gave her best. She was a great co-captain.”
Tumblety, Roselle Park’s other co-captain, went 7-10 at second singles. Last year she was 8-10.
“A steady baseliner, Lexi has good-looking strokes and a great work ethic,” Sturcke said. “She was a well-liked co-captain.”
Roselle Park’s new third singles player was freshman Mariana Rivera, who posted a winning record of 12-8. She finished eighth at third singles in the UCT and also earned UCC-Mountain Division Honorable Mention recognition.
“Mariana has excellent form and an offensive game,” Sturcke said. “She’s working hard to be steadier and will play tennis in the off-season. She has a bright future.”
At first doubles were Chacon and Piriz. Last year Chacon was 10-9 at third singles and Piriz 9-7 at first doubles along with 2016 graduate Charlotte Sessions.
This year Chacon was 7-8 and Piriz 8-7 at first doubles.
“Jacky is strong and steady and improved her serve and net game,” Sturcke said. “Nicole is smart and steady and has a good net game.”
At second doubles this fall were sophomores Alexis Kuterka and Pooja Amin, both finishing 7-7.
“Alexis is a good, all-around player, with a solid serve,” Sturcke said. “Pooja is quick, a fast runner who has nice ground strokes.”
Early in the year Roselle Park produced a season-high four-match winning streak, defeating Union, Plainfield, Cranford and Rahway all on the road.
Morgan Literate, senior, (8-10)
Lexi Tumblety, senior, (7-10)
Mariana Rivera, freshman, (12-8)
Nicole Piriz, senior, (8-7),
and Jacky Chacon, senior, (7-8)
Alexis Kuterka, sophomore, (7-7),
and Pooja Amin, sophomore, (7-7)
Kaitlyn Kirkpatrick, senior
Erin Kennedy, senior
Olivia Kamienski, senior
Odalys Arbelaez, senior
Bianca Ortega, sophomore
Alexis Kuterka, will be a junior
Bianca Ortega, will be a junior
2016 ROSELLE PARK
6-4, 3rd in Union County Conference’s
(A) Gov. Livingston 5, Roselle Park 0
(H) Roselle Park 5, Elizabeth 0
(H) Dayton 3, Roselle Park 2
(A) Roselle Park 5, Union 0
(A) Roselle Park 3, Plainfield 2
(A) Roselle Park 3, Cranford 2
(A) Roselle Park 4, Rahway 1
(H) Gov. Livingston 5, Roselle Park 0
(H) RP 3, McNair 2 – N2, G1 first round
(A) New Prov. 5, RP 0 – N2, G1 quarters
(H) Roselle Park 3, Plainfield 2
(H) Roselle Park 3, Cranford 2
(A) Union Catholic 4, Roselle Park 1
(H) Roselle Park 5, Union 0
(A) Summit 5, Roselle Park 0
(A) Dayton 3, Roselle Park 2
UCC-Mountain: 6-4, third
N2, G1: 1-1, quarterfinalists