Dec 04, 2018 | Holmdel
Interest in girls tennis is alive and well in the Shore Conference. Both Shore Regional and Holmdel had exceptional seasons.
Shore Regional’s girls tennis program is led by its 18-year coach, Michelle Gruskos, who views “tennis as a life sport,” so not only does she coach the Shore varsity program, but plays competitively herself. As an instructor, the lessons learned throughout her experiences are passed along to her pupils. “We spend so much time together, it makes us closer – more than a team, we become a family,” said Gruskos. This family connection at Shore resulted in a Central Jersey Group I Championship for 2018.
With a 14-9 final record this year and this year’s championship making for the third consecutive Central Jersey Group I crown, Shore’s success was tied to its first singles player, captain Charlotte Roarty. A four-year varsity performer, four-year All-Shore selection, senior record of 26-3, varsity record of 94-12, Roarty blazed the path for the Blue Devils. The latest in a long line of strong first singles players over the last 16 years, Roarty has yet to select the uniform she will wear at the next level.
Shore’s No. 2, Chloe Moore, a junior with a 2018 record of 11-10, in her first year playing varsity singles, was described by Gruskos as a “consistent player that’s very athletic.” Sophie Oglensky, No. 3, a senior with a 2018 record of 12-9, began playing tennis in her sophomore year.
Shore’s first doubles teams consisted of the duo of senior captain and four-year varsity player Grace Treshock, and junior Mia Grunbaum. This tandem qualified for the 2017 state tournament. Rounding out the Shore team at second doubles is junior Sophia Pissane and senior Sarah Hazelrigg.
The Blue Devils took an early exit from the Shore Conference Tournament, where they fell to Red Bank Regional. Roarty reached the semifinals of the Monmouth County Flight Tournament where she lost to Holmdel.
Having a 2018 team heavy with juniors and seniors, Gruskos looks forward to the 2019 season and fielding a team of young girls eager for another run at a title.
The Holmdel Hornets girls tennis program has a rather impressive streak of its own, collecting the last five – count them, five – Group II NJSIAA girls tennis championships, a totally unprecedented feat. Beginning the season with a loss to Rumson-Fair Haven, the Hornets ran off a string of 24 wins, before losing their second match of the year, ending the season during the Tournament of Champions with a finals loss to Millburn. Coach Charles “Chuck” Chelednik praised his team and their successes, even as many are freshmen and sophomores.
Holmdel’s team was led this year by its co-captains, Victoria Vought at first singles and Natalie Cipriano at third. Junior Emily Jiang played second singles. The doubles lineup for Holmdel was anchored by its No. 2 duo of freshman Riya Shah and sophomore Chloe Hansen.
Chelednik was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of this year’s team, particularly when last year the team “graduated four girls from last year, three starters.”
After beginning the season with a loss, Holmdel avenged that loss three times during the season, beating Rumson-Fair Haven on Sept. 13 and Sept. 28, 4-1, and Oct. 6, 5-0. Other notable wins included those over Shore Regional, Manasquan, Ranney, Red Bank Catholic, Haddonfield, Demarest, Mountain Lakes and Holy Angeles, with the last four victories during the state playoffs.
Chelednik shared that his team faced adversity head-on around the time of the run up to the state tournament. It was late in the season, and one half of the No. 2 doubles team, Daphne Yang, became unable to play with a thumb injury. “Freshman Riya Shah stepped in and we played well. This propelled us,” he said.
Sophomore Melanie Chen and freshman Sydnie Nied round out the team.
These two programs, less than 15 miles and a 25-minute drive apart, continue to collect precious sectional, SCT, MCT, and state group championship hardware to crowd the cases at each respective school. We look forward to what 2019 brings to both programs.