Madison Magic Runs Out in Tennis Sectional Finals; Madison Loses 5-0 to West Essex
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 • 7:10pm
NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - After knocking off the third and second seeded teams in consecutive weeks, the Madison postseason magic ran out on Tuesday afternoon. The girls ran into top seeded West Essex in the North II Group 2 state sectional tennis championships, and lost 5-0, at West Essex High School.
With the Lady Knights gunning for a third consecutive championship, the Dodgers knew going on the road and knocking off the top team in the section was going to be a tall order. The Lady Dodgers fell behind early and were never able to catch up against West Essex.
"We knew they were very good, and we were very happy to have advanced as far as we have, and I know the girls are very proud of that," said Madison head coach John Delloiacono. "We were just taking them one at a time, and we knew that it would be very difficult today."
At first singles, Madison's Jamie Kim fell to Skyler Simson (6-2, 6-1), while Zoe Buzankai at second and Laney Rutland at third both lost shutouts to Amanda Alhout, and Remy Astorino (6-0,6-0), respectively. At first doubles, Jessica Epstein and Hayley Como lost to West Essex's Cassandra Torter and Alissa Devine, and at second doubles, Megan Campbell and Natasha Nikodijevic fell against Paige Muzzatti and Stephanie Rosen.
If you look at many of the state sectional finals, not too many teams below .500 made a run that far. But Madison, which entered the tournament as the sixth seed, with a 3-6 record, made a very impressive run. In the opening round, they cruised past 11th seeded Ridgefield Park, 5-0. In the quarterfinals, they got wins from both doubles teams and from third singles to hold off third seeded Rutherford, 3-2. In the semis against second seeded Leonia, they won easily, 4-1.
"I think it's a function of two things. One, we play a very competitive schedule and two was the fact that we've been playing a lot of tennis," Delloiacono said. "Most of the girls on the team don't necessarily play all year round and I believe that the fact that they've been in a rhythm, playing a lot of matches in a row in a relatively short amount of time has really helped their progress."
The Lady Dodgers are losing three seniors (Campbell, Nikodijevic and Buzankai) and will return four varsity starters next fall. Their season is not quite over yet - they girls are home for Kinnelon on Wednesday and have some conference make up games left. Madison fell to 6-8 with the loss.