Tuckerton Leader

Pinelands Girls Tennis Pursues Growth as Team

Untested Young Players Fill Doubles Ranks
Sep 07, 2018

Sarah Ervin, head coach of the Pinelands Regional High School girls tennis team, said her 2018 squad “is a very young team.”

You could accuse Ervin of overstatement, but only barely.

The coach, now in her eighth year, lost two starters to graduation from last year’s team, which went 8-11 overall and 8-6 in conference play. She has six seniors on this year’s edition but only three are returning starters. The team also boasts three juniors, but there are six sophomores on the roster along with three freshmen.

The team, said Ervin, “is going to mainly be focusing on being fundamentally strong, mental stamina, and cohesiveness… We are lucky to have young players as first-year varsity players who are extremely eager to learn their positions and are continually striving to improve skills/match play.

“We are optimistic for the upcoming season with visions of players stepping up to the challenge. We have hopes to continue last season’s outcome as a strong competitor in the B South (division), Shore Conference.

“We look forward to reaching our goals as players and a team this season,” she added.

Ervin expects Donovan Catholic, Manchester and Lacey to be the toughest B South roadblocks.

The team does have experience in singles. Senior Nyah Acosta is returning at first singles. Another 12th-grader, Fallon Hutchison, will start the season at second singles, moving up from third singles last year. Junior Britney Azzara, who played second doubles in 2017, will take quite a jump and occupy the team’s third singles slot.

Inexperience will be more noticeable in the doubles ranks. Last year’s first doubles combo, Alexis Bruno and Kristen Bond, have moved on. Senior Sarah Pomponio, who had limited second doubles appearances in 2017, will join with a freshman, Angela Papa, at first doubles. Another freshman, Saige Pharo, will team up with junior Carli King at second doubles.

The roster also includes seniors Kayla Simone, Meghan Hochstuhl and Sydney Nelson; juniors Sharon Torres and Alyssa Hadzovic; sophomores Quinn Moore, Courtney Burns, Paula Handel, Lauren Tatro and Zoe Tullo; and freshman Alaina Heri.

— Rick Mellerup


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