When Scott Rosenbaum took the job to start the girls’ tennis program at Hudson Catholic this spring, he didn’t know what he was getting into.
After all, the program was brand new, starting from scratch.
“I knew that I did have one player,” said Rosenbaum, a full-time tennis instructor. “Lorelei Tuozo played for the boys’ team last year. After Lorelei, I didn’t know what else I had.”
Rosenbaum was encouraged by the girls’ attitudes.
“The girls were almost over eager,” Rosenbaum said. “Some of the other girls were on the boys’ team, but they didn’t get a chance to play. It turned out to be a great bunch of kids. We had six or seven, which wasn’t enough to field a full team, but by the first match, we had eight kids.”
Surprisingly, the Hawks won the first match in the school’s history, defeating Marist.
“I didn’t expect anything from a first-year team and we won our first match,” Rosenbaum said. “It was pretty exciting for the girls.”
After that first win, news of the program spread like wildfire.
“Soon after, we had 14 girls,” Rosenbaum said. “I took them all on.”
The Hawks managed to win six matches in their first season, which ended last Wednesday with a loss to North Bergen in the Hudson County Tournament quarterfinals.
“It’s completely impossible to believe we could have won six times,” Rosenbaum said. “We won in the first round of the county, before losing. It’s amazing. The kids bought into what I was trying to teach them. I had kids who didn’t even know which end of the racket to hold. So teaching them was a feat in itself.”
Rosenbaum was thrilled with the team’s first-year performance.
“It was actually really exciting for me,” Rosenbaum said. “We had kids who didn’t know a thing and took it all on.”
Rosenbaum was encouraged by what occurred after the season-ending defeat.
“The kids love it so much that they’re going to play now on their own,” Rosenbaum said. “They found a love for the game. The good news is that they’re all coming back next year. It’s very rewarding.”
Having a sure-fire No. 1 singles player in Tuozo helped the Hawks’ cause.
“It was huge,” Rosenbaum said. “Two days before the season started, I sent out an e-mail to the girls and asked them to pick a captain. Unanimously, they picked her. She’s a very good player and right on par with the best players in the county. But she took the time to practice with the very last player on our team. I think the other girls grew a respect for her, an unspoken respect. We played our last match of the year and she was the one who won.”
Freshman Kayla Santos was at second singles, with sophomore Isabella Bozkent at third singles. The two doubles teams are all comprised of sophomores, namely Kaylin Warren and Janelle Pichardo at first doubles and Sarah Lopez and Jasmine DeJesus at second doubles.
It definitely gives Rosenbaum and the Hawks’ girls’ tennis program hope for the future…
Here’s a closer look at the local football teams’ chances to get into the upcoming NJSIAA state playoffs.
In North Jersey Section 1, Group V, Union City (4-2) is currently fifth with 74 points and North Bergen (4-3) eighth with 64 points. The Soaring Eagles will have a tough time getting a home game in the playoffs, considering the fourth place team Ridgewood has 85 points and has only played five games. The forfeit loss to Bayonne is coming back to bite Union City in a big way.
In North Jersey Section 2, Group I, there are two local teams with solid chances. Secaucus (5-1) is the current top seed with 72 points, followed closely by Hoboken (4-2) with 70 points. Those two teams appear headed to the postseason.
In North 2, Group II, Lincoln (6-0) has already clinched a playoff berth. The Lions are now playing for the top seed. They currently are tied for the top spot with Mountain Lakes with 99 points.
In North 2, Group V, Bayonne (4-2) is currently second to Ridge, so the Bees appear headed to the postseason as well.
In Non-Public Group 4, St. Peter’s Prep (6-1) is currently tied for the top spot in that bracket with Paramus Catholic with 119 points, but PC has played one less game.
In Non-Public Group 2, Hudson Catholic (3-3) is currently fifth with 43 points, three behind fourth-place Gloucester Catholic.
In Non-Public Group 1, Marist (3-4) is fifth with 44 points and St. Anthony (2-4) is eighth with 36. It looks as if both of those teams are also headed for the playoffs despite being under .500.
Marist and Hudson Catholic face each other this weekend in a game with gigantic playoff ramifications…
Among the top football performances last weekend, D’Ondre Robinson of Marist had the biggest game, going for 218 yards and two touchdowns in the Royal Knights’ win over Snyder. Jonathan Castellano of Union City had 184 yards and two touchdowns, while the brilliant Devell Jones of Lincoln rushed for 182 yards and four scores.
Others to have great games include Sean Roesing of Secaucus (174 yards, two TDs), Jonathan Hilliman of St. Peter’s Prep (147 yards, three TDs), Tamaine Boyd of Union City (115 yards, two TDs) and Herb Johnson of St. Anthony (108 yards, one TD).
Among the top passing leaders are Ryan Iyer of Secaucus (161 yards, one TD) and Darius Wade of Lincoln (139 yards, 1 TD).
Among the best all-around performances include Tyrik Darby of Lincoln, who had nine receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown. Darby also rushed for 32 yards and made six tackles.
Also Steven Harper of Marist, who had two touchdown receptions, forced two fumbles, recovered a fumble, recorded 10 tackles, including a sack…
Veteran baseball coach Buddy Matthews, who spent a quarter century heading the highly successful baseball program at Hoboken High School, has agreed to become the co-head coach of the St. Anthony baseball program this spring, along with long-time head coach Rob Duffy. Matthews is already the school’s athletic director…–Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.