LITTLER SILVER — The Red Bank Regional High School girls tennis team soared under the guidance of first-year coach Eileen Savko during the 2022 season.
Led by seniors Janey Wright and Josie Munson, the Buccaneers went 18-3 and reached the championship match of the Central Jersey Group III state sectional tournament.
“We had a lot of fun this season,” Savko said. “I had a great group of girls. As we went through each match, it got more and more exciting as we kept winning. It is unbelievable that we made this far. We had a great season.”
Wright, who was a member of Red Bank’s state sectional championship team in 2019, starred as the first singles player for the third straight season. Wright went 17-1 and has committed to play at Marist University in 2023.
At second singles, Munson went 19-2 in her first season with the Bucs after transferring to the school from Germantown Academy in Pennsylvania.
“They (Wright and Munson) had unbelievable seasons,” said Savko. “They were always positive and encouraging the other players. They were a real joy to be around.”
Third singles was handled primarily by freshman Sasha Perskie, who went 13-6.
First doubles and second doubles were represented by senior Sarah Cuozzo and junior Nicole Kalorin, and sophomore Chelsea Langa and junior Allison Grassi.
The Bucs began started the season 11-2 and earned the No. 1 seed in the Central Jersey Group III state sectional tournament.
In the tournament, Red Bank defeated Middletown South High School, 5-0, in the sectional quarterfinals and defeated Colts Neck High School, 3-2, in the sectional semifinals to reach the state sectional championship match for the first time since 2019.
Red Bank’s opponent in the Central Jersey Group III final was Princeton High School, which won the state sectional championship in 2021.
The teams faced off in Little Silver for the state sectional tournament title on Oct. 18 and Princeton won its second straight crown with a 3-2 victory over Red Bank.
Princeton won at third singles and at first and second doubles to earn its three team points.
The Bucs won at first and second singles to earn their team points. Munson won her match at second singles, 6-1, 6-1, over Lada Labas, and Wright outdueled Princeton’s Johanna Roggenkamp at first singles, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
It was not the outcome her players wanted, but Savko was proud of her team’s effort and fight against the defending state sectional champions.
“It’s exciting to get this far. Hopefully we can make it back next year,” the coach said.
Red Bank ended its season on Oct. 19 with a Shore Conference B North Division match against Matawan Regional High School in Little Silver. The Bucs rolled to a 5-0 victory to win their first B North crown since 2019.
Red Bank finished 13-1 in B North, with its only loss in division play coming against Manasquan High School.
Red Bank’s 18-3 record in 2022 marks the 10th straight season the team has finished with a winning record.
“It’s totally exciting as a new coach to see us win the division. We did a great job this season,” Savko said.