South tennis team has the makings of a dynasty

first_imgStaff Writer By Warren Rappleyea The Middletown High School South girls tennis team rolled through the campaign, losing only once in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III tournament to Watchung Hills. Bad news for their foes, Coach Pat Ouellette has several players ready to step into the lineup to replace this year’s seniors. The coach added that her team’s only loss came against a team that went on to win the overall Group III title. Middletown South defeated both Red Bank Regional and Wall during the Central Jersey Group III tourney. “Watchung Hills will be playing in the Tournament of Champions, so we certainly lost to a good team, but we have a lot to be proud of,” she said. “This is the first time we’ve won the Shore Conference Tournament, and it’s always nice to win your division.” Ouellette’s team was downright dominating this fall, winning the Shore Conference’s Class A North division and also capturing its first Shore Conference Tournament championship. Two singles players won 20 or more matches, and the first doubles tandem produced more than 20 wins. The Eagles were 21-1 on the year. “We have a lot of depth throughout the lineup,” said Ouellette, who frequently used her reserves. “There are a lot of talented players on this team and it’s a challenge, but I have to get them out on the court.” One reason for the depth was the improvement of sophomore Karen Shih. A second doubles player a year ago, and a good one at that, she teamed with Lindsay Moran to win the second doubles title for Monmouth County. Shih worked hard during the off-season and earned the second singles position. Her emergence made the rest of the team that much stronger, Ouellette pointed out. “With Karen moving to second singles it pushed the rest of the lineup down a spot,” the coach explained. Of course, the Eagles also have one of the top first singles players in the Shore in Jaime Fass, who went 21-3 in her senior season. Fass was followed by Shih, who finished up at 20-3. Christine Powers, a senior who was 18-7 at second in 1999, played third this time around and compiled a fine 13-4 mark. The devastating duo of senior Jen Corley and sophomore Lindsay Moran overpowered opponents to the tune of a 21-2 record at first doubles. At second, senior Lucy Hanus and junior Rachel Scherer were 14-1. Ouellette also worked sophomores Melissa Zampella and Kristyn Villany into the lineup, where they won four and three matches respectively. Junior Sara Whipple and freshman Leslie Potter saw time at doubles, and senior Erica Moran was 4-0 in singles action. “We were very strong throughout the lineup and that enabled me to play our younger players, and that experience will help them next year,” Ouellette said. “We have a group of eight sophomores and they’ll be making a mark next season.”last_img

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