September 28, 2022

PDS Girls’ Tennis Hampered by Illness at MCT But Wang Provides Highlight at Second Singles

STRINGING IT OUT: Princeton Day School girls’ tennis star Kristina Wang hits a backhand as she competed in the Mercer Country Tournament last week at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. Junior star Wang placed fourth in second singles to help the Panthers finish in a tie for 11th place with Hopewell Valley in the team standings. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bringing high hopes into the Mercer Country Tournament last week, the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team got derailed in the opening day of the competition by illness as it had to default in two of the five flights of the event.

While PDS head coach Michael Augsberger was disappointed to see players unable to finish their matches in September 19 action, he liked the way the team dealt with the situation.

“We thought we could do certain damage in the places where we did enter,” said Augsberger, whose team finished in a tie for 11th place with Hopewell Valley in the team standings in the event won by WW/P-South. “It is good to see that even with the illness happening, we still had a good showing. They had spirits up and you play good competition at counties. This is my second time here with the girls. It was the most schools involved, and we are seeing even more great players.”

Junior Kristina Wang did some damage, advancing to the semifinals at second singles last Wednesday where she fell 6-2, 6-1 to Polaris Hayes of Pennington.

“She was in the semifinals last year, so she had the weight of expectation to come back,” said Augsberger. “She started out at third singles this year and then won the second singles position back. She is playing good tennis. It was tough to have to have to play Polaris who is returning Player of the Year. They have a strong team, and she is at second. We tried to attack her game as best we could, and she did a great job of staying patient.”

In her third-place match, Wang fell in two sets to Peddie’s Karen Yao but played some more good tennis.

“She got off to a great start in the second set and then the energy level went down,” said Augsberger. “It is tough to play that level of tennis for three, four hours in a row.”

The PDS first doubles team of sophomores Arya Kalra and Kavita Amin produced some high-level play as they worked their way through the backdraw.

“We really liked the way that Arya and Kavita played at first doubles,” said Augsberger. “They won the consolation bracket; they are up and coming players for us.”

In Augsberger’s view, the frustration of the MCT could pay dividends later in the fall for the Panthers.

“It is good to see players that are that hungry when we have Prep Bs coming up and later we have the state tournament,” said Augsberger, whose team won the Non-Public A South Jersey sectional title last year. “This disappointment because we didn’t have 100 percent is just going to fuel them later. We want them to peak for the state tournament.”