Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 43
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
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LEARNING EXPERIENCE: Princeton High junior girls’ tennis star Allegra Bianchini prepares to hit a backhand in her match at second singles against Holmdel last week in the Central Jersey Group III sectional semifinals. The youthful Little Tigers, who have no seniors in their lineup, fell 5-0 to a senior-laden Holmdel. In upcoming action, PHS, which moved to 13-2 with a 5-0 win over Hamilton last Monday, has a match at Ewing on October 23 before ending the season by hosting Hopewell Valley on October 30.

Youth Is Not Served for PHS Girls’ Tennis as Little Tigers Lose in States, Fall to WW/P-S

Bill Alden

The Princeton High girls’ tennis team brought an 11-0 record into its Central Jersey Group III sectional semifinal showdown against visiting Holmdel.

But PHS head coach Sarah Heyman knew that her second-seeded squad faced a major challenge in thrice-beaten and No. 3 Holmdel.

“I knew they would be tough,” said Heyman. “I look at the state rankings and they are up to No. 7. They have five seniors; they have been there before. They have played some tough teams this year. We only had two people who had been in a state tournament before this year.”

Heyman’s fears were realized as battle-tested Holmdel rolled to a 5-0 win with the youthful Little Tigers failing to win a set.

The disappointment from that loss stayed with PHS last Friday as it faced powerful WW/P-S, the Mercer County Champions.

“I think they were a little discouraged after Tuesday,” said Heyman. “Maybe they weren’t as motivated on Friday; they realized it was going to be a tough battle.”

The Little Tigers showed some fight but they came up short, suffering another 5-0 setback.

“It was a big disappointment; I definitely thought we had a chance to win some of the matches,” said Heyman, whose team topped Hamilton 5-0 last Monday to improve to 13-2.

“I think we could’ve been more competitive. There were little improvements; a lot of the games were close and went to deuce. There were second sets where they improved; they fought.”

In Heyman’s view, her team’s setbacks last week constitute the necessary bumps in the road that a team goes through on the way to becoming a championship caliber team.

“It was a lot of stuff all at once; I knew this week was going to be tough and it was,” said Heyman, whose team has freshman Sarah Cen at first singles with two freshmen, Helena Ord and Keely Herring, playing at doubles.

“I definitely think we have the potential to get to the next level; we need to pick up the consistency and win the big points.”

The team’s hot start showed that the Little Tigers have some big potential. “I knew this was going to be a rebuilding season, losing five players, including all the singles players and one each in doubles,” said Heyman, whose top seven players should be returning next season. “I’m happy with the way they started 11-0.”

Now, Heyman wants to see her team have a strong stretch run to wrap up the season.

“I’d like to see us stay focused,” said Heyman, whose team has a match at Ewing on October 23 before ending the season by hosting Hopewell Valley on October 30.

“The season starts to drag; it gets tougher when it gets colder and it’s not great tennis weather. I’d like to see us have a strong finish, it would be something to build on.”

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