2009-10-07 / Sports

Metuchen girls tennis cruising in GMC Blue

BY SHAWN LAYTON Staff Writer

Fresh off sending three of its players into the quarterfinals at the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, the Metuchen High School girls tennis team will look to stay in contention for a GMC Blue Division crown. The team is currently 5-1 in divisional play.

JEFF GRANIT staff Metuchen High School's Cori Zack returns serve against South Brunswick High School's Alison Noll in the GNC Tournament at Thomas A. Edison Park in Edison on Sept. 30. JEFF GRANIT staff Metuchen High School's Cori Zack returns serve against South Brunswick High School's Alison Noll in the GNC Tournament at Thomas A. Edison Park in Edison on Sept. 30. Metuchen's lone loss within the division came at the hands of Highland Park High School. The Owls beat the Bulldogs, 5-0.

"They definitely beat us, but they're not untouchable," Metuchen head coach Rob Strauss said. "We're really looking forward to the rematch."

The two teams are scheduled to meet again Oct. 19 but could actually meet next week if the necessary pieces fall into place as the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I Tournament begins this week. No. 5 Metuchen is slated to take on No. 4 Roselle Park High School, with the winner to meet Highland Park in the semifinals.

Overall, the Bulldogs enter this week's action at 5-3 on the season. No. 2 singles player Jen O'Neill and the No. 1 doubles team of Olivia Thomas and Dani Volosian gave the team a spark with impressive runs at the county tournament.

O'Neill opened the tournament with an impressive win over the No. 7 seed from Edison, Shivanqi Modi. In an eight-game set, O'Neill was victorious, 8-2.

"Jen has been unbelievable," Strauss said. "She seems to get better with every match. She's had some really big wins for us this season."

After defeating Modi, O'Neill defeated the No. 10 seed from Monroe, 6-0, 6-3, before exiting the tournament with a quarterfinal round loss to No. 2 Laura Quan.

"It was a great tournament for her," Strauss said. "Her confidence is growing, and she should be a tough opponent for the rest of the season."

Thomas and Volosian have suffered just two regular-season losses and opened their run in the county tournament with an 8-4 win over the doubles team from South River High School in the preliminary round. Metuchen's duo went on to beat a team from Middlesex High School, 6-4, 6-2, before losing to No. 2 Piscataway High School.

"Olivia and Dani have also qualified for the state doubles tournament," Strauss said. "They'll compete for the title Oct. 10 at Mercer County Park."

The Bulldogs have plenty of tennis in front of them, with legitimate chances to win a divisional and state title. The team's three losses have come at the hands of three quality teams: Sayreville War Memorial, John F. Kennedy, and Highland Park.

"We've lost to some really good teams," Strauss said. "I think Sayreville will be undefeated in the White Division, and obviously Highland Park is the team to beat in our division."

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