October 24, 2013 at 6:57 AM
MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn girls tennis team has claimed the top spot in New Jersey after defeating Haddonfield High School in the final round of the Group IV NJSIAA tournament of champions Wednesday afternoon.
This feat comes after the top-seeded Miller girls defeated Pingry High School on Tuesday. The 4-1 victory over Haddonfield comes as revenge, as last season Haddonfield topped Millburn in the Tournament of Champions final round. The title game was played at the Garden State Tennis Center in Edison.
The Miller ladies obtained a perfect 24-0 record this season. Haddonfield finished with a 30-1 record. Another impressive feat for Millburn this season includes claiming its second consecutive Group 4 title by defeating Cherry Hill East, 5-0. This was no easy feat, as the Millers had to knock off West Windsor South by a score of 3-2 to qualify for the final round.
The Miller girls have brought back two state titles in the past three seasons under head coach Bill Wickenheisser. The victory gives Millburn its sixth Tournament of Champions state title in school history. The Millers have won titles in 1988, 1989, 2006, 2007, 2011 and now 2013.
At the first singles spot, Millburn freshman Stephanie Schrage breezed by Haddonfield’s Victoria Martinez, 6-1, 6-3. Fellow Millburn freshman, Samantha Siegel won by defeating Erica Pascocello, 6-4, 6-1 for the third singles position. Pascocello provided Haddonfield with its only victory on the day.
The clinching victory came from junior, Jane Barry, who despite dropping her first set 2-6 came back to defeat Haddonfield’s Amanda Lanciano, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 at the second singles spot. After the match, Barry said, “It feels really great to have won the TOC after falling short last year in the finals. I'm really proud of how our team competed all season long but especially in today's final. It really takes the pressure off knowing that your teammates are out there working hard and playing their hearts out. I'm so excited and can't wait to start building for next year.”
The Miller’s first doubles squad came out victorious after losing their first set. Stephanie Chen Schmidt and Sandy Xie of Millburn soundly defeated Haddonfield’s Chelsea Brown and Arpie Senopoulos, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
At the second doubles spot, Millburn’s Anna Zakusilo and Sydney Zirlin made quick work of their opponents, knocking off Haddonfield’s Kade Burns and Katie Pileggi. After the match, Zakusilo noted the Miller girls’ cohesive chemistry during their final match and said, “It’s a pretty great honor to be a part of the team, especially with all the different personalities, but we make it work.”
The Miller ladies were thrilled about their state title victory. Part of their celebrations included dunking head coach Bill Wickenheisser with a tub of water after the bus arrived back at Millburn High School.
The Miller girls have a young team and hope to bring back many future tennis titles to Millburn High.