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New Jersey high school tennis fans are being robbed of a chance to see the state’s top two 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 Holy Angels, which is ranked No. 5 in the latest NJ.com Top 20, is being placed in the small-schools bracket instead of the large-school draw.
A lower number of teams have entered the tournament (22), and using the NJSIAA classifications list of enrollment, Holy Angels missed the cut as a large-schools team by a mere 17 students. Eleven teams will make up each tournament, which takes place this upcoming weekend.
Yakoff, the two-time reigning NJSIAA state singles champion winner, has won the last two first singles titles at the large-schools BCT over Ha, who she also defeated in the state singles final last fall. The BCT final went to three sets, which Yakoff came back to win, 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Yakoff and Ha, a pair of blue-chip recruits, have the two highest UTR ratings in the state. Yakoff has a 10.38 while Ha has a 10.06. Yakoff and Ha are also ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, per TennisRecruiting.net for the senior class.
Fort Lee and Holy Angels met in a regular season dual match last week, and while Ha played, Yakoff did not. That was their only scheduled meeting this season, therefore if the two All-State players are to go up against each other in 2022, it’ll have to be in the state singles tournament down in Mercer County Park in October.
Both Yakoff and Ha will now be heavy favorites to win the first singles title at the two BCTs.
Holy Angels, which won the large-schools team title a year ago, will not be able to defend its crown. It will likely cruise to the small-schools championship instead of going up against the bigger and better schools in the area.
So far this season, the Angels are 7-1 with its one loss coming in a ultra-competitive match to No. 4 Newark Academy, 3-2, at the Newark Academy Invitational Tournament.
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Contact Chris Nalwasky at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisNalwasky.
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