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***Belvidere's proficiency on 4th downs was critical as Stateliners came away with hard-fought win at Roselle Park in Mid-State 38!

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***One unique view of America's pastime plus an evocative look at boxing will be part of sports films included as the Black Maria Film Festival comes to the Yogi Berra Museum Thursday night. Learn much more in "Feature Articles"

***An impressive new vanguard of young head football coaches is making a impact in Essex County this season. Learn who they are and weekend picks in "The Buzz"

West Orange has one of the up-and-coming girls tennis squads in Essex County this fall led by a young trio of tri-captains, from left, sophomores Alynna Sanchez and Funmi Oshodi, and junior Siena Pizzano. Mountaineers are vying with Nutley for the Super Essex Conference-Colonial Division crown. (Photo by Cynthia Cumming)

Youthful West Orange Girls Tennis Team
Looks To Continue Its Progress In Sport
…While No. 1 Millburn Cops Fourth Straight ECT Championship

By Cynthia Cumming
And Steve Tober

WEST ORANGE- There is a groundswell of enthusiasm for the sport of tennis at West Orang High School where the young Mountaineers have their sights set on vying for a Super Essex Conference-Colonial Division title this fall.

In a sport that is dominated at the county level by the state’s No. 1 team, now 4-time defending Essex County Tournament champion Millburn, a young squad like West Orange lends to the promise of an up-and-coming, public school program to watch continue to improve not only the rest of the way this 2016 fall season, but also in the future since there is only one senior on the varsity roster and just two in the entire program.

Although it was defeated by third-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy, 5-0, in the first round of the recent ECT, West Orange (5-4) is making nice strides behind a lineup spearheaded by young tri-captains Funmi Oshodi (sophomore at first singles), Siena Pizzano (junior at second singles), Alynna Sanchez (sophomore at first doubles).

“We have a lot of players who have been playing since they were young, including several of the freshmen,” said Pizzano. “We want a 60 % or better record this fall and we feel we’re in pretty good shape to accomplish that goal.”

Last year, the Mountaineers finished 6-11, but the talent is on hand now to pursue the team goal of winning an SEC-Colonial Division crown.

“We have a very talented freshmen class led by Kala Baker in first doubles and who is going to be a huge part of the team for the next four years,” said head coach Jeff Mazurek. “The girls worked extremely hard throughout the summer and have shown so much improvement to this point.

“It’s a very exciting time for West Orange tennis!”

West Orange has posted two SEC-Colonial Division wins over Belleville (3-2 and 4-1) along with division victories over Cedar Grove (5-0), Bloomfield (3-2) and Orange (5-0).

Defeats have come to MKA in the ECT, Nutley twice (both by 3-2 scores including in the consolation round of the ECT) and in independent action to Park Ridge (5-0).

West Orange has its second SEC-Colonial Division match with Nutley scheduled for Wednesday (Sept. 28) followed by an independent match at Union City on Thursday afternoon. The Mountaineers are at Cedar Grove on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

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