Girl’s tennis enjoyed a successful 2015 campaign, finishing the year with a 12-7 record and a second round appearance in the South, Group 2 Tournament.
The Pirates came into the season with a very young varsity lineup, but quickly developed into a tough opponent for the teams on their difficult schedule.
“Four people out of the seven had never played in a varsity match before,” head coach Matt Perekupka said. “Getting the experience and understanding what it takes to play a varsity match, in terms of pace of play and consistency, really improved throughout the year. Once you get consistency down, keeping the ball in play, you can work on the more finer points of the game like hitting the ball hard and aiming it.”
Their hard work and dedication paid off when the girl’s tennis team was awarded the six-seed in the SJ2 bracket. The Pirates hosted #11 Barnegat in the opening round, advancing to face #3 Delsea with a 5-0 victory.
Their second round match against #3 Delsea, despite resulting in a 3-2 loss, was the best tennis the team played all season.
“When we played Delsea in the second round, we lost 3-2. They had a very good record during the season and were obviously favored in the match. Our first and second singles won,” Perekupka said.
“Our doubles lost. We had a real good shot because our third singles, Rebekah Adams, fought into a tiebreaker in the third set and we just lost in that third set to move on to play against West Deptford in the sectional semifinals. I told the girls that was the best tennis I saw them play all year.”
Pirates girl’s tennis enjoyed two victories against Delran this year and a turnaround victory against New Egypt in the second meeting of the two squads in 2015 that Perekupka was especially proud of.
“Our 5-0 victory in the first round of the playoffs against Barnegat was a nice win. It had been a couple of years since we had a playoff win,” Perekupka said. “The second time we played New Egypt. After they beat us 3-2 in the first match, we came back and beat them 4-1. That was a nice win. It shows improvement throughout the year.”
Girl’s tennis plays one of the toughest schedules in the area with Moorestown, Rancocas Valley, Northern Burlington and Holy Cross on the slate each year.
“Having the schedule we have gives us a good reality check. Sometimes, when you play weaker competition, it gives you a false sense of security.” Perekupka said.
“When you have teams like Northern, RV and Moorestown it keeps your goals in focus and gives you something to shoot for. When the state tournament comes, you always want to compare records of teams and sometimes people don’t always play the best opponents. We can’t say that. We play strong people all season, so we’re always ready for the tournament.”
Girl’s tennis finished out the season on a five-game winning streak, which included the turnaround victory against New Egypt and their second win over Delran to sweep the season series. Much of the team’s success can be attributed to the work the girls put in during the off-season.
“Prime example is Jenna Cuccinota was our first singles. She was our second singles last year. She hit a really flat ball last year,” Perekupka said. “From the time the season ended last year until time she came back in August, she spent a lot of time trying to refine her game and came back with a completely different swing as a senior, which is impressive. I always tell the girls ‘we only have you from August to October. What you do in between October and August is when you really improve your game.'”