Stafford Leader

Southern Girls Tennis Team Has Experience, Talented Newcomers

Sep 12, 2018

Longtime coach Howard Madsen thinks his Southern Regional High School girls tennis team should improve on what was a tough 2017 season.

Last year’s campaign was expected to be a rather hard row considering the team had lost six of its 2016 starters to graduation, including first singles starter Kristina Pineno, who had compiled a sparkling 19-0 dual match record in her senior year and was the first seed in the Ocean County Tournament but had to drop out in the title match after suffering an injury.

So it wasn’t surprising Madsen’s 2017 squad struggled, going 5-16 in dual matches and 5-18 overall. This time around, though, Madsen has a team that can boast experience.

“We graduated one starting senior, so we have a good nucleus of returners who have varsity experience,” said Madsen. “We are looking to improve on our fifth-place finish in the A South division of the Shore Conference and ninth-place finish (out of 18 teams) in the Ocean County Tournament.”

Senior Christina D’Amodio will once again fill the first singles slot for Southern. She recorded a 9-11 dual match record last season and Madsen expects she will post a winning mark this year. Other seniors, Nicole Conroy and Cass Callan, will be the team’s second and third singles players. Conroy was Southern’s third singles representative in 2017; Callan is moving up from first doubles.

While the singles contingent is experienced, Southern’s doubles players are mostly young. Senior Kelsey Bellack teamed with Callan at first doubles last campaign but this year she’s paired with junior Sarah Pampalone, who wasn’t a varsity starter last year. The second doubles duo is Cristina Ciborowski, a sophomore, and Ella Brown, a freshman.

Other varsity players include seniors Meghan Castro, Clair LaSala and Emma Norton. D’Amodio and Castro are the team’s co-captains.

In some good news for Southern girls tennis, the 2018 team started off on fire, defeating Pinelands, 4-1, on Sept. 4 and Jackson Liberty the next day, 5-0. Rainy weather doused the flames since and two matches had to be rescheduled, but hopefully the Rams will still have a spark when the rains finally stop.  —R.M.


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