PRINCETON: PHS claims MCT second doubles title

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Princeton High’s Elise Gerdes reached the second singles final at the Mercer County Tournament

By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
The Hightstown High girls tennis team put together an impressive effort to capture their first Mercer County Tournament title on Wednesday at Mercer County Park.
That left usual title contenders like West Windsor-Plainsboro South and Princeton battling for second place, which the two perennially strong programs wound up sharing.
Hightstown captured the flight championships at all three singles spots as well as first doubles to win the overall team title. Princeton captured the other flight title when the second doubles team of Brinda Suppiah and Adriana Todorov captured their flight title with a 6-2, 6-3 win over South’s Manogna Konduri and Haijia Wang.
“They played well, but you never know what is going to happen until they get out on the court and play,” said Princeton coach Christian Herzog, whose team finished with 17½ points to tie WW-P South for second place. “Some days teenagers come in and are not very focused. But they knew they had a good chance and each match fostered a little more confidence in them as a team.
“This is their first year together. Brinda Suppia was third singles and lost to Spencer (Watts) this year. After a rocky start they seemed to click and have played well. I am definitely happy with their fight and willingness to push forward.”
The Little Tigers had two other finalists who wound up second in their flight. Elise Gerdes reached the finals at second singles and Spencer Watts was a finalist at third singles. At first singles, freshman Samantha Singer finished third when she rallied to beat Angela Weng of WW-P South in their consolation match.
“Elise and Spencer were both going to see Hightstown in the finals,” Herzog said “We knew it would be tough so the first goal was to get to the finals and then focus on playing their best match. Elise was a little under weather, but she still went out there and played well.
“Sam played a great match to beat Angela Weng for third place. I had spoken to Sam because she was down after she knew she was not in the finals. But I explained to her we needed her to focus on attacking the next match because it would be one point or half a point difference and we ended up tying South because she won that third place match. She has nerves of steel. She reminds me a little of Christina (Rosca) because she is hard to frazzle.”
Princeton is 8-1 this season with its only loss coming to Hightstown. The Little Tigers are getting better each match with their young lineup and are now looking forward to the upcoming Central Jersey Group IV tournament.
“We were blessed to get some strong freshmen,” Herzog said. “Sam and Spencer worked their win in and deserve their spots. They have played well.”
For defending champion WW-P South, the first doubles team of Michelle deSouza and Dvimidha Muniappan reached the finals. Stephanie Ji reached the semifinals at second singles and finished third, while Weng was fourth at first singles and Kim Wong reached the semifinals at third singles and finished fourth.
WW-P North finished sixth overall as a team. Ishneet Sachar won her opening match at third singles as did the second doubles team of Shreyasvi Gowda and Rohani Nigam.
“We had some tough draws,” WW-P North coach Richard Arnold said. “We had to play three top-seeded teams in the first round. That’s unusual for us because we usually get some seeded players and into the second or third rounds. But this year we have played such a tough early schedule that we only had one girl with a winning record. We still have a lot of the season to go and we’re climbing back toward .500.”
Princeton Day School and the Hun School finished tied for eighth place in the tournament. For the Panthers, Sydney Vine won her opening match at first singles. Touria Salvati won her opening match at third singles and the second doubles team of Emma Dries and Giulia Gerschel also won their opening match
Hun won each of its opening matches as Paige Braithwaite won her opening match at first singles, Chelsea Braithwaite won her opening round match at second singles, and Tali Prozementer won her opening match at third singles. Alexis English and Jacquelin Drozd won their opening match at first doubles, while the second doubles team of Ishani Desai and Gaby Issa also won their opening match.
Stuart Country Day finished 16th as a team. Ann John and Annie Liang won their opening match at first doubles. 