Pingry Girls' Tennis Team Wins NJSIAA State Championship
The third time really was the charm for the Pingry girls’ tennis team.
In its third consecutive trip to the NJSIAA state group final, Pingry slammed the door shut on its disappointments of the past two years and soundly defeated Kent Place of Summit by a score of 4.5-0.5 to remain a perfect 15-0 and claim its first NJSIAA Non-Public A State Championship since 2004. The Wednesday matches were played on a sun-drenched afternoon amidst the fall colors of Mercer County Park in West Windsor.
The undefeated 14-0 Big Blue team took to the courts with the No. 7 ranking in The Star-Ledger Top 20. In the statewide Non-Public ranking category, Pingry held the No. 1 spot and Kent Place was sitting at No. 8 with a record of 11-3. This has been Pingry’s first season under new coach Lou Castelli, the former head coach of the Kent Place program from 2000-2009.
Pingry players Madison Stevens ’14 (S1) and Naomi Wong ’13 (S3) earned straight set victories in singles, and Christina Zajkowski ’14 (S2) led her match all the way at 6-2, 4-3 before it was declared a draw. The Pingry doubles teams of Stephanie Carr ’13/Michaela Scrudato ’13 (D1) and Jacqueline Jakimowicz ‘16/Kelly Mao ’13 (D2) also posted straight set wins.
After congratulating the Kent Place team on their fantastic run this season, Pingry Coach Lou Castelli noted that the state championship win for Pingry served as validation for all of the hard work that the Pingry players have put in this season. “We have made every minute count in practice, and it shows in our results—the team has great chemistry, we all support each other on and off the court, and the whole school is behind Pingry tennis.” The team has improved throughout the season, and Coach Castelli said that his "first year at Pingry tennis has been an amazing experience!"
Read complete match coverage and player quotes from The Star-Ledger.
Pingry earned its trip to the NJSIAA state group final by sweeping long-time rival and defending state champion Red Bank Catholic the day before in the NJSIAA Non-Public, South A sectional final. It was a matchup of the top two non-public schools in the state, and Pingry had revenge on its mind because RBC had beaten Big Blue in the last two state group finals. However, NJSIAA realignment this season moved Pingry from the North section into the South section home of RBC—a move that led the teams to face off one round earlier this year in the state sectional final rather than in the state group final.