The third time wasn’t the charm for the Verona High School girls tennis team: On Tuesday, the girls made their third appearance in as many years in the finals of the state sectionals. Last year, playing in North Jersey, Section 1 Group 1, VHS beat top-ranked Pompton Lakes 4-1. In 2012, Verona handed Park Ridge High School a 5-0 loss.
This year, Verona has been playing in North Jersey, Section 2 Group 1, and up until Tuesday they had been flying high. The Lady Hillbillies ran through Weequahic (5-0) in the opener, went 5-0 over Secaucus in round 2 and delivered another 5-0 victory when they played top-ranked McNair Academy in Jersey City last Friday.
The finals pitted Verona against New Providence, which had come into the tournament as the number 3 seed to Verona’s number 4. Nell Karpinski, playing at second singles, won 6-4, 6-1 over Stephanie Maluso, who had beaten her when New Providence defeated Verona at their first meeting on September 23. Caroline Chivily took third singles with a 6-4, 6-4 over Alexandra Maglaras. Chivily, who had played the first three years at VHS at doubles, has the best record of any Verona tennis player this year.
But the two singles wins were as far as Verona got. Dasha Yahknis, a Verona freshman playing in her first–but most certainly not last high school playoff–lost to New Providence’s Katherine Ge 1-6, 4-6.
And both of New Providence’s doubles teams won. Gabby Brehne/Lexi Duhaney, Verona’s first doubles team, went down 0-6, 1-6, while second doubles Michelle Lima/Yaryna Borsuk fell 1-6, 1-6.
Despite the result, Coach Kelly Flynn was solidly behind her girls. “The girls have worked hard all season to make it to the state sectional finals,” she said. “We knew we were going up against tough competition and the girls gave it their all. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Senior day for tennis is Monday, October 20. The girls have a 12-6 record this season.