The Smoke Signal

Consistency: the key for Valley tennis

Indians look to be more competitive in 2018

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Consistency: the key for Valley tennis

Melanie Brentnall prepares to hit the ball during a match last season. Brentnall will play second singles this season.

Melanie Brentnall prepares to hit the ball during a match last season. Brentnall will play second singles this season.

Evan Mathai

Melanie Brentnall prepares to hit the ball during a match last season. Brentnall will play second singles this season.

Evan Mathai

Evan Mathai

Melanie Brentnall prepares to hit the ball during a match last season. Brentnall will play second singles this season.

William Higgins, Sports Writer

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Head coach: Tom Gallione (4th season)

Last year’s record: 5-11

Key returnees: Jessica Ruback (Sr.), Melanie Brentnall (Jr.), Lily Glastein (Jr.), Hailey Juillet (Jr.)

Key losses: Elizabeth Parisi

Key newcomers: Sara Mermel (Fr.), Ava Quinn (So.), Elise DeBiasio (Sr.), Mary Savelyev (Jr.)

Strengths of team: Gallione stressed that a key to the team was their consistency.  While the Indians lack “one stellar player,” their first singles player, Jessica Ruback is dependable.  Although there might be some players who “are going to hit harder or have a better serve” than Ruback, Gallione believes that “her consistency kind of wears people down.”  Gallione believes that the “middle part of [their] lineup” should be a strength, anchored by Brentnall and Juillet.

Areas that need improvement: Gallione noted that the backend of the Indians’ lineup is “still a work in progress.”  Valley is focused on “finding the right combination for the [second] doubles team” that will round out its lineup.

Projected Starting Lineup:

  • 1st Singles: Jessica Ruback
  • 2nd Singles: Melanie Brentnall
  • 3rd Singles: Hailey Juillet
  • 1st Doubles:  Ava Quinn and Lily Glastein
  • 2nd Doubles: Combination of Sara Mermel, Elise DeBiasio, and Mary Savelyev

Outlook: Coming off of a 5-11 campaign, the Indians are in a new league which Gallione thinks should “help a little bit.”  While Valley still has to contend with perennial powerhouses Tenafly and Demarest in the Big North Patriot league, they no longer will face a talented Old Tappan squad.  Gallione believes that other teams in their league like River Dell and Dwight Morrow are “a little more comparable to [their] level.” He feels that Valley has “a lot winnable matches out there,” especially with some of their independent, non-league games.

Coach’s comment: “I think this team could get to 8, 9 wins, which would be a really successful season,” Gallione said.

(Editor’s Note: The Indians lost their first match of the season against Indian Hills on Wednesday, 4-1. Hailey Juillet won the lone match for Valley, posting a 6-3, 6-0 win. PV will host Bergenfield on Thursday.)

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Consistency: the key for Valley tennis