Roselle Park girls’ tennis sees competition improve

Is in more challenging Mountain Division

By JR Parachini

Sports Editor

After winning the Union County Conference’s Valley Division championship the past two years, the Roselle Park girls’ tennis team knew it would have an even more challenging schedule this season after moving up to the Mountain Division.

“We belong in the Mountain Division, so we’re ready for some tougher competition,” said head coach Nancy Sturcke, at the helm since 1977. “It’s going to be a challenging season.

“We’re not as ready as I would like us to be right now. Hopefully we’ll get there and improve. There will be some adjusting this year, with that ball coming back again and again.”

At first singles is senior Kelly Bulger, who was 15-6 at third singles last year.

“She’s lifted her game from last year,” Sturcke said. “She worked on it during the off-season. She’s hitting the ball well and moving well. She always has the hardest match of the day.”

At second singles is another senior, Diana Montero. She moved all the way up from beingRosellePark’s first substitute a year ago.

“Diana has really had a long journey to her final slot on the team, which was an impressive advance for her,” Sturcke said. “She worked on her game over the summer and it’s paid off.”

Taking over at third singles is junior Katarina DiLillo. She played at first doubles in 2011.

“She also worked on her game over the summer,” Sturcke said. “Katarina brings some athleticism on the court with her. She’s a basketball and softball player as well.

“She’s in the process now of developing an all-around game. She’s very comfortable at the net and uses her height (5-9) to her advantage.”

At first doubles are sophomores Niti Shah and Jasmin Brown.

Both played a lot on the junior varsity a year ago, including at doubles.

“They really show a lot of promise,” Sturcke said. “There’s a lot of raw talent there. Sometimes they have outstanding shots. They need to develop their skills.”

At second doubles are senior Raquel Casso and junior Tiffany Hunter.

“Raquel brings a lot of experience to the position,” Sturcke said. “She’s solid at the baseline and she’s a smart player who sees the opening on the court and is able to put the ball there.

“She’s teaming with Tiffany, who is new to tennis, but she’s a very solid player. She has good instincts and is hitting the ball pretty consistently at the baseline and at the net.”

Other varsity contributors include seniors Lisa Palacio, Alissa Moritz and Roma Patel. Sub varsity players include junior Stephanie Green and sophomores Michelle Henriques and Muriel Olazo.

In addition, there are 15 more girls playing JV tennis, for a total of 28 in the program this season.

The Mountain Division this year includesRosellePark,Union,New Providence, Johnson,Cranford,ElizabethandPlainfield.

Sept. 6 (H) Roselle Park 4, Plainfield 1
– Mountain Division
Sept. 7 (A) Cranford 3, Roselle Park 2
– Mountain Division
Sept. 11 (A) Johnson 4.5, Roselle Park .5
– Mountain Division
Sept. 13 Elizabeth – Mountain Division
Sept. 14 Rahway
Sept. 20-21 UCT at Plainfield
Sept. 24 at Union, 4 p.m. – Mountain Division
Sept. 25 Union Catholic, 4 p.m.
Sept. 28 at New Providence, 4 p.m.
– Mountain Division
Oct. 1 Roselle Catholic, 4 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Plainfield, 4 p.m. – Mountain Division
Oct. 4 Cranford, 4 p.m. – Mountain Division
Oct. 9 Johnson, 4 p.m. – Mountain Division
Oct. 11 at Elizabeth (at Brearley), 4 p.m.
– Mountain Division
Oct. 18 Union, 4 p.m. – Mountain Division
Oct. 19 at North Plainfield, 4 p.m.
Oct. 23 New Providence, 4 p.m.
– Mountain Division
Oct. 25 at Gov. Livingston, 4 p.m.
Oct. 26 Dayton, 4 p.m.