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Lakers gain sectional crown

Featured First singles player Emily Krupnick and Mountain Lakes coach Rob Elia pose with the sectional championship trophy. Photos by Sandy Seegers First singles player Emily Krupnick and Mountain Lakes coach Rob Elia pose with the sectional championship trophy.
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MOUNTAIN LAKES _ Emily Krupnick's energy is limitless.

Krupnick, Mountain Lakes' first singles player, keeps going and going. Her relentless nature is her greatest attribute in all endeavors, namely tennis.

"Emily grinds 'em down," Lakers coach Rob Elia said. "She outlasts everyone."

On Monday, Oct. 14, Krupnick, a sophomore, didn't need her trademark endurance, defeating Kinnelon's Katie Potter, 6-0, 6-0, to help fourth-seeded Mountain Lakes to a 5-0 victory over sixth-seeded Kinnelon in the North Jersey Section 1, Group II final.

However, Krupnick's ability and willingness to go the distance have been valuable to the Lakers as they've journeyed through the state tournament.

"I like to build momentum with my energy," Krupnick said.

Krupnick watched her teammates close out their matches after finishing first. She's prevailed in straight sets in all four of her state tournament matches. Brooke Coltelli of Kittatinny provided the biggest challenge, falling to Krupnick, 1-6, 4-6.

"All I do is try to win," Krupnick said. "It's nice that it's happening at a time like this. At the beginning, I don't think of winning in a match in straight sets or of scores. I just want to win."

Elia felt that the Lakers rode their 4-1 upset of top-seeded Pascack Hills in the semifinals into the championship round.

"That was our biggest hurdle," Elia said. "That match was intense. The girls could do it. All they had to do was believe."

Mountain Lakes won convincingly at each position versus Kinnelon. Emily Eckert, who took the second singles title at the MCT, came out on top, 6-2, 6-0, beating Liz Slyfield. At third singles, Sabrina Fiacco, a senior, breezed as well, recording a 6-3, 6-0 victory.

Eckert, a junior, continues to serve underhanded because of a minor tear of the rotator cuff in her right shoulder. Her play, as usual, was unaffected as she hit solid groundstrokes and had sufficient power.

At first doubles, Mountain Lakes' Kim Chan, a senior, and Julia Kirschenbaum, a junior, dispatched Bree Cobell and Lara Balick. Second doubles, comprised of sophomore Kim Yi and senior Gwenny Schiller, triumphed, 6-2, 6-1.  

"The girls trusted their game in my hands," said Elia, a first-year coach. "I implemented new concepts, strategies and techniques. This group is coachable and it's showing through."

Elia previously served as a volunteer assistant at Kinnelon under current Colts head coach Jon Cataldi. Pete Kenah, Elia's assistant, also came to Mountain Lakes from Kinnelon.

Cataldi, of course, was elated for his former coaches and friends.

"Mountain Lakes is a very good team," Cataldi said. "They're natural-born tennis players. At Kinnelon, we mold them. Mountain Lakes kids are born taking lessons.

"I'm pleased we got here. I think it's the first time since the 1970s. A lot of these girls started as freshmen. It's good for the program."

If Elia had a concern on Monday, it was the large crowd on hand to cheer on the Colts.

"The crowd was eye-opening to the team," Elia said. "It made the girls nervous. Once they got comfortable, they took off. They got down to tennis and everyone shined."

Krupnick noted that the amount of fans made her feel like "the whole school was there."

"They were fine. They didn't root against us," she said.

She considered the sectional championship "amazing."

"It's great," Krupnick said. "I'm really happy. It's a great experience."

Last modified onThursday, 24 October 2013 02:33
Sandy Seegers

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