CALDWELL, NJ – Every victory, every championship comes not just from a team’s talent, but is also as a product of luck and circumstance. Just ask David Tyree or Eli Manning, for instance.
In that vein, the 2015 edition of the tennis team from Mount Saint Dominic Academy may not be the best or the most talented racquet squad in Lady Lions history. It is, however, the first to ever earn a Super Essex Conference championship and the first such title-taking team this century.
The Mount did earn four straight Northern Hills Conference championships, starting in 1997.
Super Essex Conference/Liberty Division Title
The locals garnered the Super Essex Conference/Liberty Division title by going a perfect (6-0) in the league loop. MSDA vanquished Verona, the 2014 title-taker, 3-2, on Sept. 11, prior to moving past Montclair, 4-1, on Sept. 24, baffling Belleville, 4-1, on Sept. 28, waylaying West Orange, 4-1, on Sept. 30, clipping Columbia, 3-2, on Oct. 15 and, most recently, climbing over Caldwell, 4-1, on Oct. 19, in West Caldwell.
“To be fair, I think we have had better teams here,” mused Mount co-head coach Bob Reich.
Currently in his 14th season with the Mount nets program after many years of guiding the women’s and men’s racquets squads at Caldwell College, Reich now shares the Mount main mentoring duties with Johnathan Le.
“Think back to the early 2000’s, when we had players like Bridie Burke (who went on to be the tennis team captain at West Point),” he said. “Position by position, we were probably better back then. But we were also in the same division of the Northern Hills Conference as Millburn, which became a very dominating program at the turn of the century. It was also before the SEC was created, so, obviously, we weren’t going to win a championship then. I think we did finish second at least once or twice.”
MSDA Athletes Came Through in the Clutch
“Now, all that said, we really have to give this current team its due, as well,” he added. “Hey, these girls really stood up and came through in the clutch. We started off by facing the defending champions, Verona, and were able to win, 3-2. Then we also had a 3-2 win over Columbia, so this wasn’t easy by any means.”
“Most importantly, let me emphasize, coach Johnathan and I could not be any prouder of these girls and of what they’ve accomplished,” said Reich.
Overall, the Lady Lions finished at (9-8), after going (1-1) in the Essex County Tournament, where they were seeded ninth. They then upset No. 8 Verona, 3-2, before being blanked by Millburn, 0-5, and, in similar fashion, going (1-1) in the state playoffs. They were slotted seventh and humbled Hudson Catholic, the 10th seed, 5-0, in the first round on Oct. 1 at Grover Cleveland Park. Prior to this match, the Mount team was passed by Pingry, the second seed, 1-4, in a quarterfinal round clash on Oct. 6, in Martinsville.
“This has been a great year with a great group of girls,” celebrated Reich, who is still highly ranked in the East Region as a player in the 70-and-older grouping.
See the TAP article.