By NIKIT NAIWAL, sophomore
The JP Stevens Girls’ Tennis team far surpassed expectations this year when it placed second at the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMCs), behind eight-time consecutive winner East Brunswick. “We didn’t expect to have three positions in the finals,” Coach Pisano remarked. 2nd singles Claire Pan (10), 3rd singles Jessica Ho (10), and 1st doubles team Michelle Tsung (11) and partner Kristine Liu (12) all reached the semifinals, skillfully outstripping the visiting team from South Brunswick.
Even though they were unable to topple defending champions from East Brunswick, the team performed like a championship squad, with Claire Pan pulling a two-set victory against East Brunswick for our team’s first individual title since 2009. “It’s disappointing that East Brunswick won the team title again, but it’s a big improvement from last year,” Claire said.
Prior to the GMCs, the girls competed in the September Smash tournament in Livingston, against teams from out of the county such as Morristown and Ridgewood. They resisted three-time defending champion Livingston by gaining one hard-earned win in their 4-1 loss against them. JP Stevens eventually captured third, blazing past Morristown in a 5-0 sweep the second round. Undoubtedly, the team put up a strong performance, even against unfamiliar teams.
A team the Lady Hawks always clashes with is South Brunswick; throughout their rivalry, neither team has been able to retain an edge over the other. Our players, however, have recently outperformed South Brunswick at the GMCs and, shortly after, earned another solid victory at a home game. Dominating their rivals 4-1, our Lady Hawks continued the fighting spirit they displayed at the GMCs. “Every year, we always want to try harder,” captain Nitasha Goyal attested.
While the team has significantly improved over the past seasons, the players keep future aspirations in mind. “We have to continue looking forward to whatever else is to come,” said 1st doubles player Michelle Tsung, who made it to the State quarterfinals with her partner Kristine Liu.
Much like how South Brunswick fell this year, perhaps East Brunswick, too, will follow—but that’s a story for 2014.