Experiencing mixed results in its first full week of regular season play, the Princeton Day School girls’ team fell 5-0 to public school power Haddonfield before topping Prep B rival Rutgers Prep 5-0.
For PDS head coach Ed Tseng, his team’s performance in defeat was more heartening than in the easy win.
“I like having them in the beginning, playing a tough match in the beginning makes other matches seem easier,” said Tseng, reflecting on the matchup against Haddonfield.
“Also, getting beat is a wake-up call. Even though we lost, I look at the effort, they didn’t give up, that is a plus. Rutgers Prep was about a 180-degree difference in skills; it was a hot day and we stayed focused.”
Sophomore Renee Karchere-Sun has shown increased focus as she has taken over the first singles spot for graduated star Samantha Asch, a four-time Mercer County Tournament singles champion who is now playing at Wake Forest.
“Renee is still a sophomore and she is definitely getting used to the No. 1 spot,” said Tseng.
“She will face a lot of tough matches; the key is how she responds. She is being more of a leader, maybe because it is because she is No. 1 and more comfortable with the team.”
The PDS team was happy to welcome Lawrenceville junior transfer Maria Martinovic, who has slotted in at second singles.
“Maria is a nice addition,” said Tseng. “She is a great girl and a great player. She is a steady player and she is fit, those are her main strengths.”
At third singles, the Panthers feature junior Emily Dyckman, one of the program’s steadiest players over the years.
“Emily played quite a bit this summer which is always good,” said Tseng. “She is a great team player and has a great attitude. She is one of the veterans.”
The pair of junior Charlotte Zaininger and sophomore Devika Kumar at first doubles form a good mix of playing styles.
“Charlotte is like a wall, she is so consistent,” said Tseng. “Charlotte likes to play doubles and is a nice doubles player. Devika is an athlete; she also plays basketball. She is great at the net.”
The second doubles team of junior Hope Boozan and freshman Touria Salvati is showing some great potential.
“Hope has been playing on the team the last few years,” said Tseng. “Touria has good playing experience and got injured and is just coming back. They were more similar to each other than the first doubles team. They play well together.”
Tseng is confident that his team will play well at the upcoming Mercer County Tournament (MCT), which is slated to take place on September 23 and 25 at Mercer County Park.
“Two years ago we won the MCT and last year we won the Prep B,” said Tseng, whose team will tune up for the MCT with matches at the George School (Pa.) on September 18 and at the Hill School (Pa.) on September 20.
“Every year, I think we have a chance. It is sports so there are no guarantees. South [WW/P-S] looks like the team to beat but if we can get through the first round and the other teams beat each other up, who knows? It depends on matchups. I think we are deeper than we were last year.”
No matter what happens at the MCT, Tseng believes his team is going to have a positive fall.
“I am very happy with the way they are working,” said Tseng. “They are enjoying themselves and are having fun.”