Going into the 2019 Bergen County Tournament, the Ridgewood Girls Tennis Team knew that they had their work cut out for them. Although the team was continuing to develop and build upon their lineup, Northern Valley Demarest gained a stand-out freshman in their second singles position, pushing the rest of their players down a spot, thus making the strongest singles lineup in the county. Despite Demarests’s strength, Ridgewood was still a contender if they performed at their best.
The past three years have been very successful for Ridgewood. They won the state sectiontional title and came in a close second at counties each of these years. The team’s close losses in the County Tournament gave the girls an even greater sense of motivation to win in 2019.
On September 21st, the first day of the tournament, Ridgewood won every match and managed to claim a spot in the semi-finals in every position. Meanwhile, Demarest’s 1st singles player lost to the 3rd seed, leaving only four of their five positions in the tournament and putting Ridgewood into the lead.
The next day, 1st singles player Alana Kerner lost her semi-final match to the 1st seed and eventual champion. 2nd singles player Eunice Cha also lost to the 1st seed of her draw. 3rd singles player Anika Joshi lost in a three set thriller to Old Tappan leaving only the two doubles teams in contention. 2nd doubles players Vanessa D’angelo and Taylor Donovan put up a great fight in their three set semi-final match, but they did not end up with a victory.
Fortunately, senior Captain Kaelie Kerner and junior Sophia Faherty gave their teammates a reason to celebrate when they captured the 1st doubles county title.
This was Kerner’s third appearance in the county final. In 2017, Kerner and partner Sarah Casale lost in a third set tiebreaker to Northern Highlands. The next year, Kerner lost again to Northern Highlands, this time alongside sophomore, Eunice Cha.
At this year’s tournament, third time was a charm for Kerner. She and Faherty finally won in yet another third set tiebreaker. This win meant a lot to Kerner as it was her last chance to claim this title. “I’m really happy to finally get the win. It’s a great way to end my high school tennis career,” said Kerner. It was also very meaningful for Faherty as she truly proved herself and her abilities in the sport. “Playing with Kaelie was a really great experience and I’m really glad that we won. It meant a lot to both of us and I’m happy we got a win for our team,” said Faherty.
Beyond counties, the team won their state sectional quarterfinal match against Hackensack as well as their semifinal match against Bergen Tech after having a bye in the first round. On Tuesday October 15th, their loss in the state sectional final match against Livingston resulted in an end to their successful season.
Despite some unfortunate luck at counties, the team has had a great season with more to come. They have a lot to look forward to and a bright future in the coming years.
Graphics: Kaelie Kerner