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Preview of N.J. state boys’ tennis tournament

Last season, the Lenape boys' tennis team won the first sectional title in the history of the program.

Last season, the Lenape boys' tennis team won the first sectional title in the history of the program.

This season, the Indians have raised their sights.

"Our goal is to win a state title," senior No. 1 singles player Nikola Kocovic said. "It's my greatest goal."

The Indians will play Central Jersey champion Montgomery in Thursday's state semifinals at 9 a.m. at Mercer County Park. With a victory, Lenape (20-2) would advance to face the winner of the Livingston-Westfield match in the 1 p.m. state finals.

Moorestown (Group 3), Haddonfield (Group 2), Pitman (Group 1) and Moorestown Friends (Non-Public B) also will compete in Thursday's action at the tennis center.

Kocovic and No. 2 singles Mike Humes, a junior, are undefeated in team play this season. Lenape also has a strong No. 3 singles player in sophomore Mike Perrone.

Team competition at the state level often depends on doubles play. The Indians' doubles teams feature Marc Reynaud and Dan Sha at No. 1 and Kevin Lauria and Mike Sha at No. 2.

"Winning states has been our goal all along," Lauria said after the team's 4-1 victory over Cherry Hill East in Monday's South Jersey Group 4 final. "We don't want to stop now."

While Lenape is seeking its first state title, Moorestown will be pursuing its 13th.

The Quakers (28-3), the No. 1 team in The Inquirer Super Six, will face Central Jersey champion West Windsor North in Thursday's 9 a.m. semifinals. Millburn and Ramapo will meet in the other Group 3 semifinal.

"We hope our balanced lineup will play its best and rise to the challenge," Moorestown coach Bill Kingston said.

Moorestown has solid players at the top of its singles lineup in No. 1 Pierce Cooper, a sophomore, and No. 2 Brandon Greenwood, a senior.

But the strengths of the Quakers' lineup are No. 3 singles Mike Bass, a senior, and the doubles teams of Matt Holzinger and Mike Schwartz at No. 1 and Colin Groundwater and Justin Wisniewski at No. 2.

In two 3-2 victories over Lenape this season as well as a 3-2 victory over previously undefeated Ocean City in Monday's South Jersey Group 3 finals, Moorestown received victories from Bass and both doubles teams.

Haddonfield won its eighth consecutive South Jersey Group 2 title in impressive fashion Monday, scoring a 4-1 victory over top-seeded Middle Township. The Bulldogs were the No. 2 seed.

Haddonfield (28-4) will face Central Jersey champion Manasquan in Thursday's 11 a.m. semifinals. The other Group 2 semifinal will feature Pascack Hill and Chatham, the No. 1 team in the state in the Newark Star-Ledger rankings.

Like Moorestown, Haddonfield features strong doubles play with Ty Simcox and Luke Grabiak at No. 1 and Ian Roberts and Sean Campbell at No. 2.

The Bulldogs' singles players are Will Lawlor at No. 1, Brian Oatway at No. 2, and Matt Godlewski at No. 3.

"As a typical Haddonfield team," coach Jeff Holman said, "we will rely heavily on our doubles combinations and hope that at least one of our singles players can come through with a win."

Pitman will face South River in the Group 1 semifinals at 11 a.m. The Panthers beat Pennsville, 3-2, in Monday's South Jersey final, thanks to straight-set victories by No. 2 singles Dan Hays, No. 3 Eric Todd, and the first doubles team of Jon Sjolander and Torey Langlois.

Moorestown Friends (14-5) will face a tall task in the 1 p.m. Non-Public B state finals against Dwight-Englewood, which defeated perennial power Newark Academy in Monday's North Jersey final.

Moorestown Friends is led by senior No. 1 singles Eric Maertin.