Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ramapo Making a Statement

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ramapo Making a Statement

Article excerpt

This year, all four of Ramapo's returning starters moved up in the lineup with three jumping up two positions. With three new varsity players also in the mix, the Green Raiders were expected to take a step back.

That hasn't been the case, as Ramapo is off to a solid 5-3 start. The Green Raiders put themselves back on the map this past week with eye-opening victories over NV/Old Tappan and Holy Angels.

"We expected to lose those matches," said Jolie Strauss, junior third-singles player. "When you win one like that, it's a great feeling."

This year, Ramapo's singles lineup is made up of returnees Lauren Laino, Nicolette Kogut and Strauss.

Ella Sinoway moved up from second to first doubles and is joined by sophomore Alexa DiDomizio, while Samantha Muhlstock and Alyson Edwards are at second doubles.

In the NV/Old Tappan match, Strauss provided the decisive third point as she rallied from a first-set loss to beat Jacqueline Fales, 3-6, 6-0 and 6-1.

"For some reason, I wasn't nervous at all," Strauss said. "My teammates were sitting there cheering for me and they made me feel so confident. I just wanted to win it for them."

NEW TOP GUN: After going 14-3 last season, Rutherford also was expected to slip some. In this case, the insertion of freshman Nyabwija Kanefu at first singles has kept the team flying. Her addition allowed seniors Danielle Hur and Alisa Vibulbhan to remain at second and third singles and keyed a 4-0 start.

Coach Dave Padilla said that with three solid singles players, there's no pressure on senior doubles players Hannah Seehaus, Emily Lichtenberger, Natasia Fernandez and Sophie Kim, all of whom were on last year's JV.

"Our doubles is a work in progress," Padilla said. "We just want them to keep the ball in play and do the best they can. We don't want them to feel like they have to carry the load.

"On the other hand, the three singles players know what their jobs are."

TERRIFIC TRIOS: Leonia also has three strong singles players and an all-new doubles cast. Soloists Liya Davidov, Bianka Lieber and Katarina Lieber have held the fort, though, while first-year varsity players Naomi Cruz, Isabella Bonapace, Sophia Vazquez and Elizabeth Vega have been adjusting to their new jobs. …

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