Scott Hisel has been coaching the Marlboro girls’ tennis team for six years.
It was also the year Samantha Jaros joined the team.
Now, Jaros is a senior, coming into her final season undefeated during the regular season at first singles for two straight seasons.
Now, she has one more shot to make it to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships. She almost got there last year, but finished fourth in the Section 9 tournament, just one place away from qualifying.
“Her skill is only matched by her competitiveness,” Hisel said. “Not only is she a skilled athlete, she is a fun and kind-hearted person. She has unknowingly taught me a lot about this sport, and she will be missed.”
Well, she won’t be missed yet, as she still has a full season to go through.
The Dukes have lost Ava Del Salto, Lindsay and Heather Stelling, Gianna Barbero, Emma Schlager and Abigail Schaffer.
In addition to Jaros, Sydney Sladicka also returns to
the Dukes. Riley Adams, Amelia Seager, Ciara McManus and Rebecca Paino will join the team for the first time this year.
Hisel’s main goal is to prepare his key returning players – including Jaros – for strong postseason runs, while teaching the basics to the newcomers so they can remain competitive.
As a team, the Dukes were 9-0 and won the Mid Hudson Athletic League and Section 9 team championships in 2021.
The Highland Huskies lost only one dual match last year, a late-season defeat to the Dukes. They also lost two of their top singles players, including Allie Fuller, who was the MHAL runner up last year, losing only to Jaros during the regular season.
The Huskies also lost Ellie Davis, Mackenzie Mason, Rebecca Ness, Riya Sheniy, Daphne Valenzuela and second singles player Maggie Van Valkenburgh.
However, Lena Tran, who finished fourth in the MHAL championships is back, along with Ella Fuller, Grace Koehler and Emma Hanlon. They’ll be joined by newcomers Ashley Nesheiwat, Jessica Rendon, Maryanna Scalo and Arianna Wallen.
Overall, four of the team’s top five players from last year’s team are gone, but coach Michael Geller looks forward to the returners and the newcomers to step up.
“It will be tough to replace some of the graduating players, but I hope the team takes on the new challenge, and works hard to reach their full potential,” Geller said.