The Montgomery High School girls tennis team prevailed in a pair of three-set matches and the Cougars defeated East Brunswick 4-1 in the NJSIAA Central Group IV semifinals on Friday at the East Brunswick Racquet Club.
Montgomery, will visit state power West Windsor-Plainsboro South on Monday for the sectional final.
“We all knew it wasn’t going to be easy, especially with my second doubles team,” Montgomery coach Cristina Venetucci said. “They dropped the second set and I said ‘You should have expected this, they’re a really good team.’ “
But that second doubles team, Nicole Lorenzi and Kim Szakats, rallied to top East Brunswick’s Ananya Prakash and Kaitlin Wang 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. In the other three-setter, at third singles, Montgomery’s Lili Chu overcame Danna Tsay 1-6, 6-2, 6-2.
The Bears, who won the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, got a point at first singles from Jennifer Chen, who topped Emily Szkudlarski 6-0, 6-3.
“I stuck to my game plan and I came in and just played my game,” Chen said. “We may have lost, but we’re closer than we’ve ever been and I’m proud of my team.”
Montgomery, which remains undefeated in dual matches, also triumphed at second singles as Shannon Lu beat Hannah Malk 6-3, 6-3, and at first doubles, where Emily Roeper and Steph Allen bested Antoinette Gayo and Adelina Begu 6-4, 6-3.
“First doubles, I think they just needed to be a lot more aggressive then how they started, and they picked up on that and got really confident at net and they were able to overcome their nervousness,” Montgomery’s Venetucci said. “I think they just had to get over the nerves and play their game like the aggressive players I know them to be.”
“I’m proud of the girls and the way they came out and hit today,” East Brunswick coach Allison Clay said. “They had confidence coming in and that showed in the way they played. It could have gone either way.”