Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 37
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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STRONG START: Princeton High girls’ tennis first singles star Sarah Cen muscles a forehand in action last fall. Junior Cen has helped PHS get off to a solid 3-0 start which includes wins over Notre Dame and Hopewell Valley. The Little Tigers will look to keep on the winning track with matches at Allentown on September 15 and at Hightstown on September 16.

PHS Girls’ Tennis Shows Character, Skill in Marathon Victory Over Notre Dame

Bill Alden

Sarah Hibbert had a feeling that her Princeton High girls’ tennis team would be in for a tough match when it battled Notre Dame last Friday.

But the PHS head coach never anticipated the three-hour and 30-minute marathon that ensued as the Little Tigers pulled out a 3-2 win.

“We expected it to be tough because we had a tight match last year but I didn’t think it was going to be like that,” said Hibbert, whose team picked up another big victory last Monday as it topped Hopewell Valley 4-1 to improve to 3-0 on the season.

“I am really proud of how the girls were ready to fight like that; it was a good team experience.”

The biggest brawl in the match came at first doubles where junior Helena Ord and sophomore Maddie Cahill-Sanidas won 7-6 (12-10), 6-7 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3).

“They got down 1-5 in the first set and they were a little frustrated,” recalled Hibbert.

“They were not playing their best but they were able to regroup. It was a great test; when one struggles the other picked her up. Maddie came through with her serve in the third set. Helena’s volleys and overheads were good.”

PHS also got a good effort at second doubles from juniors Vinita Su and Alyssa Taylor who rallied from an early deficit to win a three-setter, 7-6 (9-7), 6-7 (7-4), 6-2.

“The second doubles was down 2-5 in the first set and forced a tie-breaker,” said Hibbert. “They lost a tiebreaker and then won the third set.”

There was no need for drama at first singles where PHS junior Sarah Cen posted a 6-3, 6-0 victory.

“I didn’t have to watch her Friday,” said Hibbert. “Sarah has a lot of experience and she just goes on the court. She has a good all-around game. She can set up a point well; she has a mature game for a young player.”

Hibbert is expecting second singles player junior Keely Herring to mature over the fall as she makes the move from her previous spot at doubles.

“Keely is a good athlete,” said Hibbert of Herring, who is a top scorer for the PHS girls’ hockey program. “She definitely has the shots to play singles. She has to get used to being the only one on the court and not having someone out there to help her.”

PHS should get plenty of help at third singles from senior Rachel Bergman. “Rachel has been an integral part of the doubles for the past few years,” added Hibbert.

“She has a really strong game; she is not afraid to go to the net and volley. She likes to mix it up unlike some of the girls who just want to stay on the baseline.”

In Hibbert’s view, the way her team mixed it up last Friday is a harbinger of good things to come.

“We are going to have to work hard; we are not going to have an easy road,” said Hibbert, whose team has matches at Allentown on September 15 and at Hightstown on September 16. “I think we have a dedicated and hard-working group of girls.”

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