May 10, 2012
Holmdel wins fourth straight SCT title
MANASQUAN — It’s safe to say that the Holmdel boys tennis team has created a dynasty in Shore Conference play over the past four years. The Hornets showed exactly why they are now, and have been, the team to beat in the Shore Conference after their dominant 5-0 win over CBA in the Shore Conference Tournament final on Wednesday.
This is their fourth straight SCT title, and Holmdel head coach Chuck Chelednik knows how special his senior class and team has been for him.
“It’s just a testament to how hard this team has worked, and our depth as a team these past four years,” Chelednik said.
Senior Daway Chou-Ren has been at third singles all four years for Chelednik, and was able to get a straight set victory over CBA’s Anthony Dein 6-4, 6-3. Chou-Ren was tested by Dein at third singles in the Monmouth County Flights Tournament semifinals, but was eventually able to get the win in three sets.
“I tried to stay back this match, and just wait for my opportunities when they came,” Chou-Ren said.
“I played a little more aggressive then I did in counties and it worked out for me here today.”
Seniors Chou-Ren and second singles starter Daniel Tu have been a part of all four SCT titles for the Hornets.
“It just shows how committed our teams have been, both in the past and this year’s team,” Chou-Ren said.
“We work hard all year, and I’m really proud that we have so many kids who are so determined to improve as a team.”
Junior Derek Liu won his match at first singles after he defeated CBA’s Nick Sharwarko 6-2, 6-2.
“I tried to keep the ball in the court as much as I could today,” Liu said.
“I wanted him to try and earn every point that he won.”
With the NJSIAA Tournament starting today, Holmdel will get a bye after earning the top-seed in Central Jersey Group II.
“I think our team is where it needs to be up and down the lineup to do some damage in states this year,” Liu said.
“Anything can happen in states and we are looking forward to trying to get out of our group this year.”
At second singles, Mike Chen has become a formidable one-two punch with Liu this season for the Hornets. Chen defeated CBA’s Peter Cangialosi 6-1, 6-2, and remained undefeated this season.
With their aggressive net play on full display, the first doubles duo of Mike Li and Ganesh Natarajan cruised by CBA’s Mike Montanelli and Mike O’Malley 6-1, 6-3.
Chelednik knows that if his team is to do damage in the states his doubles teams will have to play up to their full potential.
“Hopefully this gives us some confidence heading into states,” Chelednik said.
“There are definitely still some things to work on at doubles, and there is always room for improvement.”
In what was arguably the most competitive match of the day, the second doubles team of Sam Joynson and Daniel Tu defeated CBA’s Henry Manley and Mark Robinson 7-5, 6-3.
“Our singles are playing very well right now, and if we can improve on doubles every day, we should be good for states,” Chelednik said.
CBA head coach Dan Keane was proud of the way his team battled, knowing that they were going up against a very talented Holmdel squad.
“They were excited to play in the final, and they went out there and gave it their best,” Keane said.
“I salute Chuck and Holmdel, there are going to go a long way in states.”
Keane knows his team will only benefit from match experience against Holmdel.
“This is a great learning experience for my guys, especially the freshman,” Keane said.
“They might be down for a little while, but their confidence will be where it needs to in the states.”
CBA earned the top-seed in the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A bracket.
Chris Parker 732-643-4279; email@example.com