October 19, 2022

After Taking 2nd in Prep B State Tournament, PDS Girls’ Tennis Primed for Run in Non-Public

By Bill Alden

This past Sunday was not a day of rest for the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team.

With the Prep B state tournament condensed into a single-day event last Sunday at Thomas A. Edison Park in Edison, PDS hit the road at 7:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. start and didn’t leave the court until 5:15 in the evening.

“We did it all in one day, it was a long day,” said Panther head coach Michael Augsberger. “It was like an 11-hour day.”

Battling hard in the marathon session of tennis, PDS won two flights of the competition as senior Amy Zhou prevailed at third singles and the first doubles pair of senior Josephine Baranski and junior Ashlyn Du also finished first. In the team standings, the Panthers took second with 10 points, two points behind champion Pennington.

Augsberger was thrilled to see Zhou come through. “Amy has been brilliant all year,” said Augsberger of Zhou who posted a 6-1, 6-1 win over Lauren Decker of Pennington in her final. “She plays third singles like first singles in the sense of the way she plays her points and her style of play. A lot of third singles matches take a long time. The semifinal match between her opponent and Rutgers Prep went four hours just because their style of play. Amy plays very aggressively. She has a gorgeous backhand and she deserves it. It is great for her to have a senior crowning moment.”

Baranski earned a crowning moment as she stepped in at first doubles at the last moment as sophomore Arya Kalra couldn’t make it to Edison because of illness.

“Arya was out sick, this was last minute at 6 in the morning on Sunday, so we moved up Josie,” said Augsberger, whose first doubles pair posted a 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 win over Ria Shah and Maya Bhide of Morristown-Beard in the final.

“Josie and Ashlyn had played together two or three times in the beginning of the season. I think there have been other times when they played together when Arya has been out and they play well together. We really believe in Arya, but Josie has been a mainstay for the team. She is a strong player; I am really glad that it worked out for her to get the first doubles title even though it was forced on us. I am proud that she was able to get that as a senior.”

The Panthers will be going after other titles this week as they are competing in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public South sectional where they are seeded first and hosting third-seeded Ranney School in the sectional final on October 18 with the victor advancing to the Non-Public state final on October 20 at the Mercer County Park tennis complex.

“I hope we can recover in time,” said Augsberger, whose team had posted an 8-5 record in dual match play so far this fall. “Ranney didn’t play in the Prep B this year. They are coming up to us,  they upset Trinity Hall in the Non-Public semis. We know how tough Trinity Hall is and how close that was for us last year. This is going to be just as close.”