HomeNews TranscriptNews Transcript SportsMustangs defeat Westfield to win second straight Group IV state crown

Mustangs defeat Westfield to win second straight Group IV state crown

WEST WINDSOR — The Marlboro High School girls tennis team capped a 20-0 season in 2022 by winning its second consecutive NJSIAA Group IV state championship with a 3-2 victory over Westfield High School at Mercer County Park, West Windsor, on Oct. 20.

The title was the eighth state championship in program history and capped a dominating two-year display of tennis by Coach David Kretzmer’s squad.

During 2021 and 2022, the Mustangs have won 42 consecutive team matches, two Shore Conference division titles, two Monmouth County Tournament crowns, two Shore Conference Tournament championships, two state sectional titles, two state group crowns and the 2021 New Jersey Tournament of Champions title (the Tournament of Champions is no longer being played).

“We have been a powerhouse the past two years. The girls have gone up against the best competition in the state during the last two years and have shown they are the best,” Kretzmer said after Marlboro’s victory over Westfield.

In the Group IV state championship match, the Mustangs defeated the Blue Devils, 3-2, earning team points with wins at second singles, third singles and first doubles.

The Blue Devils (15-4) won at first singles and second doubles to score their two team points.

At second singles, senior Laila Fishman defeated Emily Shabinaw, 6-2, 6-0.

Fishman fashioned a 20-0 record in Marlboro’s 20 team matches, playing at first singles and second singles.

“It’s great to finish off the last two years” by winning a second straight state championship, Fishman said. “Our team is really good. We have great players and great coaches. Even though we don’t have a Tournament of Champions this season, we still finished No. 1 in the state and that’s a great way to finish it off.”

At third singles, sophomore Olivia Zuba defeated Annika Vesuna, 6-1, 6-3.

At first doubles, the dynamic duo of sisters Kayla Salfarlie and Klarissa Salfarlie defeated Madison Wright and Bianca Vesuna, 6-2, 6-3.

In the second set, the Salfarlie sisters jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Wright and Vesuna rallied to win three straight games to tie the set at 3-3.

The sisters huddled up and refocused themselves before winning the next three games to win the match, earn the team point and clinch victory for the Mustangs.

“It was hard for us with the wind and the sun, but we stuck it out and played well to end (the match),” Kayla Salfarlie said.

The sisters lost to Holmdel High School’s Amelie Baveja and Preeti Parmar in the Monmouth County Tournament, but are otherwise undefeated and will compete in the finals of the 2022 NJSIAA Doubles Tournament on Oct. 22.

The pair lost in the finals of the 2021 NJSIAA Doubles Tournament.

Kayla Salfarlie said she enjoys playing doubles with her sister, adding, “We have had our ups and downs, but we have done really well together the past two years.”

At first singles, Westfield’s Savannah Cohen defeated Marlboro’s Diana Zuba, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

Zuba posted a 13-1 record in team matches this season and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2022 NJSIAA Singles Tournament.

At second doubles, Westfield’s Emmy Stoller and Natalie Debowski defeated Marlboro’s Victoria Belokon and Pramya Surapaneni,  7-5, 1-6, 11-9 (tiebreaker).

The Group IV state championship match was the only team match in 2022 in which the Mustangs surrendered two team points.

Marlboro won every set in 18 of its victories this season and defeated Holmdel, 4-1, in the Shore Conference Tournament championship match.

“We have a chance to win at every position. To have a team that deep whose athletes play with all their heart every time out has been a blessing and a joy to be a part of,” Kretzmer said.

Since the 2020 season, Marlboro is 53-1. The Mustangs have won 70 team matches during the past four seasons. The players have displayed dominance on the court, with 2021 and 2022 culminating in championship glory at the highest levels.

The many accolades the Mustangs have garnered during the past two seasons places them among the best boys or girls tennis teams in Marlboro history, Kretzmer said.

“They are one of the best teams all-time in Marlboro history. Winning a second straight state championship is a nice feather in their cap. It has just been great to be part of it,” the coach said.

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