Sewell, NJ - The Brookdale women's tennis team competed at the Region XIX tournament hosted by Rowan College at Gloucester County this past weekend. Sophomore third singles Grace Meyer championed her flight and earned Brookdale points towards their overall score.
By: Head Coach Peter Eno
Sophomore second singles Brianna McCarthy got on the court in the wind and played a very tough # 2 opponent from Rowan College at Gloucester County, with whom she had split match wins during the season. Over the past two years, McCarthy has been entirely steadfast at numbers 1, 2 and 3, been an outstanding captain and voted to the 2017 All-Region team. She finished the regular season at 5-3 and has been a great teammate. It will be tough to loose her energy and commitment.
Sophomore third singles Grace Meyer was seeded second, had a bye and would look to play on Saturday. Sophomore Lindsey Nelson at 4 played Bucks County Community College and got off to a good start. Nelson executed a substantial defeat at 6-1, 6-0 with simple, consistent and smart play.
Freshman Sonal Madhok, who had played only three full tennis matches ever, lost 1 and 3 in the 5th spot to RCGC. There were some long rallies and great points as Madhok came to the net! Sonal came off of the court every match this season with a huge smile and this day was no exception. She improved over the season, got to every practice and we look forward to Sonal's devotion to the game and team next year!
At the number 6 spot came sophomore Krysta Cieslik. In a long and very tough match, Krysta lost in a 7-6, 7-5 marathon to a Bucks County Community College opponent. Given that Krysta came to the program last year with not one match of experience, but with the enthusiasm of a Broadway play cast, she had a wonderful season and really learned how to play tennis. Cieslik was simply amazing to watch chip and charge her way into this highly competitive match. Krysta worked nights at the hospital but was there for every practice and learned faster and better than any rookie I've seen. She will be irreplaceable.
At doubles we played 2 and 3 spots; Meyer and Nelson took down Bucks quickly at 1 and 1, and Sonal and Krysta lost 0 and 1 to RCGC.
Saturday morning it rained. Meyer topped her Camden opponent 6-1, 6-3 with good approach shots, service winners and strong ground strokes. But you would never know by her reaction. Grace takes things in stride, she is happy to be back on the court during a tough semester of work and school.
Nelson played Camden in her second match. After a tough first set, she came back strong, won the second and fought really well in the long third set but fell eventually 6-1, 2-6, 6-4. She had long points, made some great tactical changes and really worked hard on the court. This was Lindsey's second and final year. It is tough to lose such a strong and devoted player on the team. Despite working more than just one job, she got to almost every match, sat in the third row in the van just in front of Grace, and always knew where the Wawa was for the drive home.
In the second round of doubles for the #2 spot, late in the afternoon, Nelson and Meyer simply ran out of gas, and lost 1 and 1 to RCGC.
At 10 am it was 45 degrees and dropping, with a 25-35 mph wind from the northwest. Not tennis conditions. And yet, there went Meyer onto court three for the finals. Her opponent from RCGC had a good cross court forehand and when she was upwind, it was a winner. Every short ball, Meyer attacked the backhand and won free points on her serve. Still it was close, the wind was disruptive. Service tosses moved twelve inches laterally above their heads. 6-4 in the first, Meyer collected the win. The second set was faster. Grace made fewer unforced errors and spun her serve in for consistency. It was still hard for RCGC to handle. Meyer came in and volleyed for winners. She hit ground strokes down the middle to avoid the pull. She played smart and recorded the 6-1 victory and became the third singles champion, 6-4, 6-1.
Grace played every match of the season, had a record of 6 and 2, while holding down a job at a commercial design company. Her competitive tennis got stronger and more consistent by a hundred percent this year. It's tough to lose her and the support from her folks for the team. It is such a pleasure to see her wry smile on the courts. " I'm just happy to play , she said.