WEST WINDSOR – No one would pass judgement on Britany Lau if she had requested a personal day on Monday.
After all, the Kinnelon junior tennis standout didn’t get home until well into the early morning hours Monday morning after competing in the state individual tournament the night before.
Lau, who had advanced to the final fourth-round match of the night which didn’t get underway until 9 p.m., was edged out by two-seed Ashley Hess of Holy Angels, 6-4, 3-6, 10-5 in a super tie-breaker battle at Mercer County Park.
GIRLS TENNIS: Kinnelon's Lau captures second-straight MCT title
TENNIS: Kinnelon set to defend state title
With the third and fourth rounds of the opening-weekend tournament originally scheduled to start early Sunday morning, action was delayed until 12 noon due to the lingering rain that drenched the outside courts. A steady rainfall throughout the early part of the afternoon forced officials to move some matches indoors, ultimately causing a delay for the later-round draws.
“It was totally unacceptable for some of the girls to have to play that late into the night,” said Kinnelon head coach Jon Cataldi. “I was disappointed with the tournament directors for not having the foresight to prepare for the weather that was in the forecast and the conditions expected throughout the day. They should have postponed the matches and rescheduled for another day. To play matches that late into the night with school the next day is just unacceptable.
“However, I’m proud of Britany and the way she played. I was sitting there watching in awe as both girls went at each other. It was just unbelievable tennis and a pleasure to watch. Britany was calm, cool and collective and she battled until the end.”
Earlier in the day in the third round, an unseeded Lau defeated Cynthia Huang of Newark Academy, 6-3, 7-5 to advance. On Saturday, Lau won both her first and second-round matches, defeating Tiffany Tivers of Egg Harbor, 6-0, 6-1 in the opener and followed up with a 6-3, 6-3 sweep over 17-32 seed Alex Mednikova of Montgomery.
Lau’s teammate, Agatha Malinowski, won her first-round match over Marissa Liu of Hopewell Valley, 6-3, 6-0. But the senior was eliminated in the second round after falling to Julie Anderson of Kent Place, 6-1, 6-4.
“Agatha played real well and I’m proud of her performances,” said Cataldi. “She was aggressive and had a strong start in her opening-round match.”
In the state doubles tournament, the Kinnelon duo of Victoria Kaufman and Erin Morris dropped opening-round matches on Saturday, falling to Leah Bremer and Lucy Earl of Westfield, 6-1, 6-3, in their first-round match-up.
“When you get to this point of the season and qualify for the state tournament, you face bigger schools,” said Cataldi. “Westfield is a Group 4 school and for Victoria and Erin to compete against other girls at that level says a lot. They did a great job and they’ll build off of this experience.”
Pequannock’s Kamila Magiera dropped her opening-round match on Saturday to Nicole Gasser of Middletown North, 6-1, 6-0.
Cataldi and the Colts now refocus their attention on the North 1 Group 1 team state playoffs. Kinnelon, the second seed, is in the sectional semifinals after earning convincing victories last week in the first two rounds.
In last Thursday’s opener, Kinnelon swept neighboring rivals Pequannock, 5-0 for their third win over the Golden Panthers this season. The next day, the Colts shut out Pompton Lakes by a similar score in a second-round matchup.
“Both athletic directors from Kinnelon and Pompton Lakes saw some rain in the forecast for Monday so we decided to move the second-round match up by a few days,” said Cataldi. “We’re looking forward to our semifinal-round opponent and staying focused.”
Kinnelon hosts the winner of the 3-Cresskill and 6-Lenape Valley second-round match on Thursday afternoon on their home court. A win there and the Colts move on the sectional finals for the second-straight year.