Women clinch NJAC

Coming into the weekend, the College’s tennis team had been rolling through the competition. The Lions finished their week victorious, defeating four NJAC opponents. They faced Richard Stockton College on Wednesday, sweeping all nine matches. The Lions then took on William Patterson University, Ramapo College and Rutgers-Camden University on Saturday, once again sweeping all nine matches. With the victories, the Lions clinched the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship, while pushing their conference win streak to an impressive 148 games.

“I thought we all played pretty well,” senior Karisse Bendijo said. “During doubles, I saw everyone talking to their partner which is essential because communication is important in doubles. Our doubles were really good at being aggressive from the beginning. During singles, I thought everyone played well and used their strengths well.”

The Lions cannot be beat. (Sports info desk)

The Lions went a combined 36-0 in  their matches last week. With the success the Lions have had, one would expect some type of secret formula, but this is not the case. Whether it was singles or doubles matches, the Lions believe their key to success lies in team unity. Like anything, strength lies in numbers.

“We have a pretty outgoing team and we all get along pretty well,” Bendijo said. “We like to hang out together outside of tennis. We all genuinely like each other which makes us that much closer as a team.”

On the season, freshman Jasmine Muniz-Cadorette, senior Lauren Balsamo and Bendijo lead the Lions in singles victories with nine. Balsamo has not loss a game and has a nine game winning streak. Doubles teams of senior Paige Aiello and Bendijo and sophomore Alex Bologno and Balsamo have been dominant throughout the season. The pairings have eight victories a piece with zero losses. With so many talented players, the Lions’ depth has carried them a long way.

“We have become a very deep team,” Bendijo said. “I think our team has gotten better with being aggressive with volleys and poaching. Because everyone has a new partner, it takes time to get used to speed of the ball and how it bounces. It takes time to know when to poach across.”

With the success Bendijo has had all season, she had the joy of facing her sister Krystle Bendijo, a junior for the Stockton Ospreys, one last time. The two faced off in the first singles match with Karrisse taking home the sibling rivalry, 6-1, 6-1.

“I was pretty satisfied with my play because I played my sister for the last time of our college careers,” Bendijo said. “Anytime we play against each other, it is not really a match. We laughed most of the time and just had a blast.”

The Lions have a week off and are back in action on Sept. 22, as they will take part in the ITA Northeast Regional hosted by William Smith College.