It was smooth sailing for Holmdel in their NJSIAA Tournament of Champions quarterfinal match on Tuesday.
The third-seeded Hornets (30-1) made quick work of sixth-seeded New Providence (14-8), sweeping all five positions, sending them through to the TOC semifinals.
Mike Chen was first off the court for Holmdel at first singles, after he defeated Alex Hocken 6-0, 6-1. The other half of arguably the best one-two combo in the state, Derek Liu, followed suit with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Kevin Malusso at second singles.
Holmdel head coach Chuck Chelednik said he believes his team is where it needs to be heading into the TOC semifinals. The Hornets are scheduled to meet second-seeded Newark Academy at 2 p.m. today in Mercer County Park.
“It’s a good win for us today, and hopefully it’s a big confidence booster for our next match,” Chelednik said.
Holmdel has had improved play at doubles late in the season, and will need it heading into their match up with Newark Academy.
Sam Joynson and Ethan Wong defeated New Providence’s Ryan Turner and Nick Xu 6-3, 6-3, and Dennis Barlotta and David Lin won their match at second doubles 6-1, 6-3.
“I like what I’ve seen from both teams,” Chelednik said.
“They have to keep staying aggressive, take the returns early and step into the net.”
Newark Academy is strong at both first and second doubles, and Chelednik hopes to be able to get a split from either position.
“When you get this far into the tournament, it usually tends to come down to a doubles point,” Chelednik said.
At third singles Juan Angel-Alvarado defeated Kevin Stinchcomb 6-3, 6-3. Angel-Alvarado, who started the year out at first doubles, will now find himself in a key match against Newark Academy at third singles.
“I really wanted to play singles this year,” Angel-Alvarado said.
“We have a really strong team this season, and if we just stay focused we have a chance against any team we play.”
Chelednik has been happy with the transition by Angel-Alvarado from first doubles to third singles this season. According to Chelednik it is important for him to remain patient with his points.
“I like the way he has started to construct points,” Chelednik said.
“He is still getting used to singles, but we always talk about how important it is to grind out the points.”
When asked what he will tell his team tomorrow in their semifinal, Chelednik’s answer was simple.
“Just go out and play with confidence,” Chelednik said.
“We are 30-1 for a reason, they have to go out and just trust their shots.”