A doubleheader sweep Thursday of East Rutherford continued the steller season fashioned to date by Polk County’s girls tennis team.
The Wolverines topped the Cavaliers 7-2 and 5-1 in their final regular-season home matches, improving their overall record to a sparkling 8-1, that including a 7-1 mark in Mountain Foothills 7 Conference matches.
In her second season leading the Polk program, head coach Tracy Becker will likely earn a second-place finish in the MF7 standings and appears to be on track for at least one home 1A playoff match.
One of the keys to the Wolverines’ success has been an influx of athletes from other programs. More than half the roster plays at least one other sport at Polk County, and that isn’t a coincidence.
“I do (look for athletes),” Becker said. “A lot of them are soccer players, some are softball players, and this is their second sport.
“They’re athletic girls, and you can always work with athletic girls. I have no problem where they come from as long as we can keep feeding a team.”
And that is Becker’s chief concern, how to keep the Polk County program growing and maintaining the success established this season. The Wolverines will lose just three seniors from the current 11-player roster, meaning there will be a core group of returnees for the 2024 season.
But that group will be senior-dominated, and with no middle school program to serve as a feeder, how large future teams will be is certainly a question.
“It’s my second year, and I haven’t been able to work on building the program much,” Becker said. “We have two ninth graders this year (Cate Brown and Addie Buss), so that’s good.
“There is a program in town called TennisBloc. Two of my players (Tali Thompson and Bella Sheffron) are helping out with it. We’re hoping to start building that way.”
TennisBloc offers lessons and guidance to players of all ages, primarily young players. The program is currently running each Sunday at Polk County Recreation Complex, and Becker hopes getting young players involved with TennisBloc can begin to help build a pipeline of experienced players to Polk County High School.
Until then, she’s happy to continue recruiting multi-sport athletes, especially if the victories continue to follow.
“They already have a leg up because they know how to swing a bat, if they’re softball players, so they can swing a racquet,” Becker said. “Soccer players, they’re quick on their feet and they can move back and forth quickly like you do on a tennis court. So having that foundation does give them an advantage.
“I think it always puts everybody in a better mood when you’re winning. It creates excitement and good vibes. It does help (attracting players) when you’re having a winning season.”
POLK COUNTY 7, EAST RUTHERFORD 2
1. Sarah Vitale (PC) d. Lily Wall 6-1, 6-0; 2. Lulu Price (ER) d. Elizabeth Vitale 6-1, 6-0; 3. Tali Thompson (PC) d. Cora Goforth 6-4, 7-5; 4. Mia Wolfe (PC) d. Gracie Emery 6-1, 6-1; 5. Cate Brown (PC) d. Lylah Goforth 6-1, 6-0; 6. Anna Jackson (PC) d. Maresa Beheler 6-0, 6-3.
1. E. Vitale-S. Vitale (PC) d. Wall-Price 8-3; 2. Brown-Allie Quoyle (PC) d. Emery-Ava Torvinen 8-1; 3. Goforth-Beheler (ER) d. Rosie LaFauci-Cameron Hodges 8-2.
POLK COUNTY 5, EAST RUTHERFORD 1
1. Sarah Vitale (PC) d. Lily Wall 6-1, 1-6, 10-5 tiebreaker; 2. Lulu Price (ER) d. Elizabeth Vitale 6-1, 7-5; 3. Tali Thompson (PC) d. Cora Goforth 6-2, 7-5; 4. Mia Wolfe (PC) d. Gracie Emery 6-2, 6-1; 5. Cate Brown (PC) d. Lylah Goforth 6-0, 6-3; 6. Allie Quoyle (PC) d. Ava Torvinen 6-0, 6-0.