The Verona Boys’ Tennis Team swept Palisades Park High School today, 5-0, in the State sectional championship at Montclair Kimberley Academy. The match was closer than the lopsided final score would indicate. Senior Noah Herman, third singles, quickly dispatched his opponent, 6-1, 6-2, and a bit later junior Paul Corrente followed suit 6-3, 6-1, but the rest of the match hung in the balance for the next hour and a half.
It was a switch from the typical pattern for the Verona team, where first and second doubles notch the easy wins and the singles players battle on to clinch. Today, the doubles teams of sophomore Matt Tuorto and senior Will Schenkel (first) and senior Mack Kirby and sophomore Brian Farrell (second) both dropped their first sets and were struggling for every point in their second. Meanwhile, on court 2, senior Mike Streifer, who had won his first set 6-1, was running into trouble in the second, ultimately losing it 3-6. First doubles had pulled out a squeaker with a tiebreaker for the second set and was heading into their third.
Kirby and Farrell were the clinchers today. Though they started the third set down 2, they shook off their nerves, and with sheer athleticism and will dominated a talented doubles team from Palisades Park. Streifer went on to to win 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, and Tuorto and Schenkel 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 sealed the sweep.
The win earns the boys a trip to the Group championships on Thursday in Mercer County. Two wins there in the single elimination tournament will earn them a berth at the Tour of Champions next Tuesday.