New Jersey’s high school tennis fans are missing the chance to see the state’s two best players, Fort Lee’s Stephanie Yakoff and Holy Angels’ Erin Ha, meet on the tennis courts at the Bergen County Tournament. .
NJ Advance Media has learned that the Holy Angels, who are ranked 5th in the latest NJ.com Top 20, are being placed in the small schools group instead of the large schools draw.
A smaller number of teams entered the tournament (22) and, using the NJSIAA entry list, the Holy Angels missed the cut as a big school team by a mere 17 students. Eleven teams will compose each tournament, which takes place this coming weekend.
Yakoff, the two-time NJSIAA state singles champion, has won her last two big school BCT singles titles over Ha, who she also defeated in the state singles finals last fall. The BCT final went to three sets, which Yakoff won again, 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Yakoff and Ha, a pair of top-tier recruits, have the two highest UTR ratings in the state. Yakoff has 10.38 while Ha has 10.06. Yakoff and Ha are also ranked number 1 and number 2 respectively by TennisRecruiting.net for the senior class.
Fort Lee and Holy Angels met in a regular season double match last week, and while Ha played, Yakoff did not. That was the only meeting scheduled for this season, so if the two All-State players face off in 2022, it will have to be at the state singles tournament at Mercer County Park in October.
Both Yakoff and Ha will now be favorites to win their first singles title in both BCTs.
The Holy Angels, who won the big school team title a year ago, won’t be able to defend their crown. It will likely go to the small school championship instead of taking on the bigger and better schools in the area.
So far this season, the Angels are 7-1 with their only loss coming in an ultra-competitive match to No. 4 Newark Academy, 3-2, in the Newark Academy Invitational Tournament.
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Contact Chris Nalwasky at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisNalwasky.