By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA — A lot of good things have been happening for the Lower Cape May Regional High School girls tennis program at the start of the season.
First, the team has rolled to five wins in as many matches, winning three of them by a 5-0 shutout.
“The girls are playing awesome,” Lower coach Greg Douglass said. “It’s a good feeling. They’re playing very, very well.”
Second, Douglass recently earned his 200th career victory in his 24th season as girls coach at Lower. He also previously recorded 320 combined wins in 27 total seasons as a boys tennis coach, first at Wildwood and later at Lower Cape May. He stopped coaching boys tennis at Lower after the 2019 season.
And third, the Lady Tigers also won the Cape May Tennis Club’s annual round robin tournament last weekend, sweeping first place at all five positions.
Lower has enjoyed the luxury of returning its entire singles lineup in the same positions as last season. Juniors Sam Mancuso and Vika Simonsen and senior Delaney Brown are at first through third singles, respectively. None of the three has yet to lose a match this season.
“It’s a big boost for us to have all of them back in the same slots,” Douglass said. “We knew we’d be strong with all three of them coming back, and even next year we’ll still have our No. 1 and No. 2 back. It’s very promising for the program.”
Senior Marley Kronemeyer, who moved up from second doubles, and freshman Ina Nikolova are also unbeaten at first doubles.
The second doubles pairing is young, featuring sophomore Jayci Shivers and freshman Maddie Gilbert. They’ve won three of their five matches so far and have been competitive in their two defeats.
“It’s great to have a freshman in there at first doubles playing well. She worked hard all summer,” Douglass said. “And Marley’s done a good job stepping up from second doubles. She’s played very well.”
Another freshman, Kamryn Thomas, is also on the team and currently playing junior varsity matches.
“They’re coming along,” Douglass said.
Lower, which went a solid 8-4 during last fall’s pandemic-shortened season, has a chance to compete for the Cape-Atlantic National Conference title. But the Lady Tigers will face tough matches with
“We have two big matches next week,” Douglass said. “Cedar Creek has a very good No. 1 player and Oakcrest will be another tough match. Next week’s a big week for us.”
Douglass is a graduate of Lower Cape May, where he was a standout tennis player as a high school student. He feels fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to coach at his alma mater.
“I think when you reach a milestone like this it just means you’ve been coaching a long time,” he said. “We’ve had some of our more decent teams in recent years, so that’s nice. I feel good about it because I graduated from here, so it means something extra to me. Then when you pile it up with the coaching the boys, I’ve had a nice, enjoyable career doing this.”