Montclair High School boys tennis serves up quality 2022 with state title appearance
The Montclair High School boys tennis team continues to knock on the door to Essex County Tournament and state tournament titles; it has been a threat to bring one home year in and year out.
But it fell short this spring, first losing a tough 3-2 verdict to rival Millburn in the Essex County Tournament semifinals in April, and then being defeated 4-1 by Bergen Tech in the North 1 Group 4 state title match in May.
Despite the defeat to Bergen Tech, Montclair head coach Guy Rabner said he could not have been happier to get to the sectional finals and a shot at a title.
"I'm glad that we came this far," Rabner said. "They fought hard and played their best. I'm proud of them."
The Mounties’ record of 14-8 counted three more victories compared to the 2021 Montclair squad.
All three singles players, first to third sophomore Tylan Ozkuzey, senior Sol Cornejo and senior Avery Bronner, collected All Super Essex Conference first-team honors.
"All three singles players, great kids and players, richly deserved their great season," Rabner said.
After the loss to Bergen Tech, Ozkuzey's season did not end, as he competed in the state individual team tournament and defeated a top-10 player in the state, reaching the round of 32.
Cornejo defeated Millburn's Aaryn Juneja in second singles in two straight sets on April 21 in Montclair’s lone victory in three meetings with Millburn. Also in the match, Bronner defeated Aarava Dugar in two straight sets.
On the All SEC second team were seniors Leon Wang, Nolan Ogden and Jaden Ruderman. The Mounties’ first doubles team of Wang and Ogden was solid this past spring and was a force when it was on the court. The Wang/Ogden combo defeated Eddie Ho and Jean-Luc Marchand, 6-3, 7-5, in the one match won by the team in a 4-1 loss to Newark Academy.
"Our first doubles team had a solid season, beating Newark Academy, Livingston, Westfield among its many wins this year," Rabner said.
Ruderman was part of the second doubles team that also included junior Rainen Solomon, who received All American honorable mention. They won their match against Bergen Tech in the state finals, the lone victors in that contest, as they came from behind to beat Tech's Shuban Devarakonda and Shan Krishnan, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Ruderman was the Mounties’ team MVP with his utility work. "He was our team MVP, winning clutch matches at both doubles and singles this year," Rabner said.
Senior Alex Rougebec was also pegged for the All American honorable mention list. Rougebec saw time on the second doubles team.