Times of Trenton boys’ tennis notebook: Princeton, WW-Ps and Pennington enter May undefeated
Three of the 13 Colonial Valley Conference teams competing this spring entered May undefeated, and the first week of the month will feature a head-to-head between the two of them.
Princeton (5-0), No.13 in NJ.com’s Top 20, will host West Windsor-Plainsboro North (4-0) on Monday in a series that has even surpassed the careers of current players. Princeton swept both encounters in 2018 before WW-P North swept them away in 2019. Among those who fueled the wins are senior twins Dylan and Ethan Parker, who are perfect 5-0 in the first double. . The Parkers are the only returning players who played for Princeton in the 2019 NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 3 final last season.
WW-P South (5-0) will face WW-P North and Princeton in the second week of May, hosting WW-P North on May 10 and heading to Princeton on May 14. Junior Sounak Dhar was a perfect 4-0 for the Knights at the top of the Singles lineup.
Although Princeton is the only HVAC team in Friday’s NJ.com Top 20, Princeton, No.4, and WW-P North, No.7, are in the NJ.com Group 3 rankings, and Hopewell Valley (3- 3 ) is # 6 and Lawrence (2-2) is # 8 in the group 2 standings.
The Cardinals’ two losses came to WW-P South and Princeton, both by scores of 3-2. At the top of the singles roster, seniors Ram Laxminarayan and Paraj Goyal are in the top two spots and are perfect 4v4 to start the season, including wins in games against these undefeated teams. Laxminarayan was the only loss for WW-P South junior Brian Zhao, who is 4-1 at the top of the Pirates roster.
Nottingham have won three of their first four matches before a loss to Hightstown on Friday, standing within one win of their winning tally of all of the 2019 season. Passing the four-game mark would give Nottingham their most wins in a season since 2017, when he won eight. A season opener against Notre Dame, which the Northstars hadn’t defeated since at least until 2011, came with Nottingham winning three of the four games played in this April 20 contest, with Notre Dame winning one per package.
Behind unbeaten Princeton and WW-Ps at the top of the CVC are Nottingham (3-2), Hopewell Valley (3-3), Lawrence (2-2), Hightstown (2-2) and Robbinsville (2-2) , among teams with equal or better records.
Montgomery, No. 20 on the NJ.com Top 20, entered the season after winning 32 straight games since a 3-2 loss to WW-P South on May 6, 2018 in the Newark Academy Invitational Finals. The Cougars have won their first two this season to run that streak to 34 before it ended last Monday against Bridgewater-Raritan, now No.18 in the Top 20. The 3-2 decision against Bridgewater-Raritan saw the third singles and both doubles matches go to third sets after the opening sets of those three matches have ended 7-5. The Panthers ended up winning two of those three games while sharing a pair of straight players in the top two singles places to win the game.
While Montgomery was able to rebound with a win over Rutgers Prep on Wednesday, the Cougars were set to face Newark Academy’s No.1 NJ.com to open this year’s Newark Academy Invitational on Saturday, with a potential of two games on Sunday if Montgomery is. able to defeat the Minutemen. The Cougars have won the last six games with Newark Academy since the Minutemen’s last victory in the series on April 10, 2016. Of those six games, three were at the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, including the T of final. C in 2017 and 2019. No.15 Westfield is a possible opponent in the semifinals of the Newark Academy tournament, with No.2 Delbarton, No.6 Millburn and No.16 Chatham among the top 20 teams in the other half of the draw.
On the prep side, Pennington has already faced and defeated the other four Mercer County preps this spring, with wins over Hun, Lawrenceville, Peddie and Princeton Day. At the top of the singles roster, Josh Finkle and junior Theo Sardain are undefeated in those four matches.
In Burlington County, Northern Burlington stands 3-1 ahead of a Monday visit from Palmyra. Freshman Kunaal Jaganathan in first single and junior Ankith Keshireddy in third single are unbeaten in the first four matches.