In Kim Marchese’s first decade-plus as the girls tennis coach at Ramapo, the Raiders captured four NJSIAA Group 3 championships.
Then things became more challenging after the 1995 title. Powerhouses Millburn and Moorestown moved up from Group 2 and became postseason nemeses.
Yet that made Marchese’s final match even more satisfying. Ramapo bested Millburn, 3-2, on Oct. 19 in the Group 3 final to complete a Triple Crown of county, sectional and state titles.
After 40 seasons (1978, 1985-2023), Marchese retires with a 723-120 record (.858 win percentage), 18 Bergen County championships and 18 North 1 sectional crowns.
Bergen County third-singles champ Chloe Heller, who finished 21-0, won the match that swung the state final.
“Our doubles are very strong, and so are Millburn’s, so at least I thought we would be very competitive there,” Marchese said. “We knew we were going to be in trouble at first and second singles. But their third singles girl had a similar UTR [Universal Tennis Rating] as Chloe, so I thought we had a shot.”
Heller and Millburn’s Angelina Wang split the first two sets, then played a super-tiebreaker (first to 10 points wins), with the Raiders’ senior prevailing, 10-7.
“If we had an MVP in Bergen County girls tennis, she would have been the overwhelming choice,” Marchese said of Heller.
The Ramapo second-doubles tandem of Olivia Ring and Arielle Gomberg also captured a county championship. Ring then paired with Elizabeth Hartgers for the state-tournament run, complementing the 2022 Bergen first-doubles title tandem of seniors Caroline Baker and Elizabeth Ring.
Senior Ella Saxton (first singles) and junior Cadie Sauter (second singles) helped finish off a 5-0 sweep of Tenafly in the North 1, Group 3 sectional final.
“Demarest, Tenafly and Ridgewood, they’ve always made us better teams, specifically over the last three or four years,” Marchese said. “So, a little thanks for them, too, for keeping us competitive.”
An NJSIAA doubles first
Kay Considine and Zoe Han have something that no other North Jersey girls tennis player does: A state doubles championship.
The Tenafly seniors rallied for a 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Hannah Lewis and Katie Chung of Montclair Kimberley on Oct. 19 in the NJSIAA doubles final at Mercer County Park. Considine and Han were a No. 5-8 seed and knocked off the No. 1 (Pingry, in the quarterfinals) and No. 2 (MKA) seeds along the way.
Congratulations to K. Considine and Z. Han for winning the first state championship for girls doubles in the storied history of Tenafly Girls Tennis program.
You represent the best of Tenafly student athletes. pic.twitter.com/yCIQXuwCQF
— Tenafly HS Boys Soccer (@TenaflyBSoccer) October 20, 2023
The Tigers’ only other state finalist is Michele Weiss, who finished as runner-up in the 1976 NJSIAA singles tournament as a freshman. The only previous Bergen County pairing to reach the state doubles final was Ramapo’s Jaimie Berger and Erin Nerlino in 2006.
This was the first year since 2015 that North Jersey did not produce an NJSIAA singles finalist.
Bergen County first-singles champ Jaime Carlin (Holy Angels), Bergen Invitational first-singles winner Britney Lee (Ridgefield Park) and Bergen Tech ace Victoria Gazda all reached this year’s quarterfinals.
More sectional highlights
* Demarest added to its longest active streak of sectional team titles in North Jersey, capturing its sixth in a row (including the 2020 “regional championship” format) in North 1, Group 2. The Norsewomen edged rival Old Tappan in the Oct. 17 final, 3-2, winning at second singles (Priyanka Khubani), third singles (Kaitlyn Choi) and second doubles (Isabelle Young/Dylan Feiner).
After winning its first 17 matches of the season, Demarest once again ran into Holmel in the Group 2 final and fell, 4-1, as Choi scored a victory, and first singles Sabrina Chu forced a third-set super tiebreaker.
* Glen Rock and Kinnelon met in the North 1, Group 1 final for the fifth time in seven seasons. The Panthers have won three of the last four thanks to a 5-0 triumph on Oct. 17. Sophomore Keira Lin closed out the sweep with a 6-2, 6-7, 10-4 victory at first singles.
* Ridgewood reached its seventh consecutive sectional/regional final, scoring a 3-2 win over Livingston for the North 1, Group 4 championship. State singles qualifier Kylee Hung, a freshman, won at first singles, and the senior/sophomore doubles pairings of Lauren Lim/Juliette Editoiu and Thomai Andreopolous/Zoe Devine also prevailed.
Best of Passaic County
* Clifton senior Anias Jenkins earned her third straight Passaic County title at first singles, becoming the county’s 14th three-time singles champ and fourth ever from her school. In three years, she defeated three different opponents in the final: Wayne Valley’s Liza Kiseleva (2021) and Meliha Bektesevic (2023), and Passaic Tech’s GeNye Robinson (2022).
* Wayne Hills’ Passaic team title was its 28th all-time, and a quartet of returning finalists pitched in. Seniors Sasha Abramsky (second singles) and Radha Pingle (third singles) claimed crowns after winning at third singles and first doubles, respectively, last year. Gargi Srivats earned her second straight title at first singles, pairing with Briella Beach, who was a runner-up at second doubles in 2022.
Bergen championship: Ramapo, 13-12 over Demarest
BCWCA Invitational: Saddle River Day, 15-4 over Leonia
Passaic: Wayne Hills, 18-13 over Wayne Valley
Big North American: Fort Lee 6-0 (10-2 overall)
Big North Freedom: Ramapo 8-0 (17-1)
Big North Independence: Wayne Hills 10-0 (14-2)
Big North Liberty: Bergen Tech 8-0* (14-2)
Big North National: Demarest 10-0 (17-1)
Big North Patriot: Pascack Hills 8-0^ (12-3)
Big North United: Holy Angels (13-2) and Immaculate Heart (8-5), both 5-1
NJIC Colonial: Glen Rock 10-0** (14-2)
NJIC Liberty: Dwight-Englewood 11-0^^ (16-5)
NJIC Meadowlands: Secaucus 9-1 (12-5)
NJIC Patriot: Saddle River Day 10-0 (12-2)
*Matches vs. Clifton and at Passaic Tech were cancelled
**Matches vs. Garfield and at Elmwood Park were cancelled
^Result missing from 10/19 match vs. Westwood; match at Indian Hills cancelled
^^Result missing from 9/28 match vs. Ridgefield
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Kim Marchese: Ramapo NJ tennis coach ends career with state title