CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy tennis team had a competitive season despite its 7-11 record.
“This year, the team played really well, although our final record may not reflect that,” said Brianna Turano '10, who completed her fourth year as head coach.
“With teams like Caldwell, Montclair, West Orange, and Verona, although they resulted in losses, the matches were all super close. They battled it out for each point, and many matches went into third sets and even third sets with tiebreakers.”
Mount St. Dominic, which moved up to the Liberty Division of the Super Essex Conference this year, was the 11th seed in the Essex County Tournament.
The team lost to No. 6 Montclair, 3-2, in the first round.
In the consolation tournament, it defeated No. 14 Cedar Grove, 5-0, in the quarterfinal round and lost to No. 10 Columbia, 3-2, in the semifinals.
In the state tournament, the Lions were the fifth seed in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Non-Public A Tournament.
After a first-round bye, they lost, 5-0, to No. 4 seed Dwight-Englewood.
The Lions had a memorable victory in their season opener against Glen Ridge.
“Our match against Glen Ridge was a big win for us,” Turano said. “It came down to our No. 3 singles winning in a third-set tiebreaker with the score of 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).”
The team also had regular-season victories over Nutley, Bloomfield, Belleville, Cedar Grove, and Governor Livingston.
Turano said every player on the team performed well this season.
“Each player this year worked hard and battled it out every match,” she said. “My No. 3 singles Cat Morales '20 and No. 1 doubles team Melanie Touchard '20 and Tori Schmey '23 really performed well this season. They stepped up and fought hard. My first doubles team are what I like to call comeback kids because they often would start off slow and then after a pep talk would step back and make a comeback.”
Schmey was a first-year varsity player.
“Tori Schmey is my only freshman who played all varsity matches this year with the rest of the team being seniors,” Turano said. “She stepped into her position well and has the ability to continue to improve and gain a higher position on the team.”
The graduating seniors are a special group to Turano.
“I will be losing all but one player next year,” she said. “Most of the seniors began tennis the first year I was coach, so that is pretty special since they are my first group of freshmen.”
Schmey will be the only returning player next season.
“Next year will be a building year,” Turano said. “We have some nice players on JV and hopefully will get some newcomers for next year as well. It’s going to be tough, but it will be fun. I look forward to training and working with next year’s team and seeing how they adapt going from JV to varsity.”