After SCT win, CJ tourney is next for Holmdel tennis

first_imgHornets looking to win sectional BYWARREN RAPPLEYEA Correspondent A fter winning its third successive Shore Conference Tournament championship, the Holmdel High School boys tennis team is looking to make its mark in the NJSIAA Central Group III tourney.The Hornets, 23-2, reached the finals in the state sectional last spring before falling toWestWindsor-Plainsboro North.On Tuesday (May 24) the Hornets had another opportunity to win the sectional title as they took on third seed Hopewell Valley at Freehold High School.Holmdel has been perfect in state play thus far having beaten Burlington Township and Princeton by identical 5-0 scores in its quarterfinal and semi-final matches.Coach Chuck Chelednick’s team stormed through the Shore event just as easily downing Pinelands, Ocean and Toms River North before defeating Marlboro, 5-0, in the title match played May 11 at Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch.Holmdel also sits atop of the Shore’s A Central Division with a perfect 9-0 mark with matches remaining against Red Bank Regional, set for Monday, St. John Vianney, scheduled for yesterday, and Raritan on Friday.The Hornets have scored non-conference wins against some of the top teams in the state, including Delbarton (21-3), Moorestown (19-8) and St. Augustine (13- 3), as well as Toms River East and Lenape. Holmdel’s only two losses came against West Windsor-Plainsboro South and Morris Knolls, the latter in the semifinal of the Delbarton Tournament.“Winning the county and the division are always part of our goals,” Chelednick said. “We also have high expectations for the state tournament. We were pretty disappointed when we lost to West Windsor- Plainsboro North last year. We really want to win the sectional this time.” As always, Holmdel features a deep and talented lineup. Derek Liu holds down the top singles spot, where he is 22-6. The 5-11 sophomore reached the final of the Monmouth County Tournament, where he lost to undefeated Michael Lippens of Shore Regional, the reigning state champion. Liu is equally adept on the forehand or backhand, and also owns a strong kick serve.Charlie Seifer, who played doubles a year ago, is in the second spot. The aggressive senior also reached the second singles final at the county tournament and owns a 24-6 record. The two-handed backhand that Seifer developed in doubles has served him well in singles.Junior Daway Chou-Ren is 22-3 at third singles. Patient and consistent, Chou-Ren wears opponents down with his ability to keep the ball in play and win lengthy points.Holmdel’s doubles teams are another strength. Chelednick put seniors David Lyu and NeeveNikoo together early in the year, and the duo clicked instantly. Currently 24-0, Lyu’s big forehand meshes well with the 6-2 Nikoo’s solid service and strong backhand. They combined to win at first doubles in the Monmouth County Tournament. Michael Li and Ganeesh Natarajan, a pair of aggressive players, have posted a 23-1 record in the second doubles spot and also won at the Monmouth County tourney.Off the bench, the coach can call on Jacob Yang, who is a combined 11-0 in doubles and singles play; freshman Sam Joynson, 13-2; or juniors Dan Tu and Ken Hua, both 5-1. Yang and Joynson entered the Monmouth County Tournament’s third singles division, where they ended up downing Tu and Hua in the final. Seniors Jay Cheng, Jonathan Wu and George Xu provide additional depth.“We’re very fortunate to have so many talented players,” Chelednick said. “The kids who are not in our regular lineup would probably be starting for a lot of other teams.”last_img

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