Stanley eager for state play

By: Ken Weingartner
   With one of his goals accomplished – qualifying for the state singles tournament – Ken Stanley has turned his attention to the team event.
   A senior, Stanley has been to the state team tourney the past two years, but Monroe lost in the first round both times. The Falcons, seeded fifth in Central Jersey Group III, travel to No. 4 Hopewell Valley Tuesday.
   "Getting a win, that would be a huge accomplishment," said Stanley, who plays first singles for the Falcons. "It’s my last chance; it’s definitely motivation. I don’t know how good Hopewell Valley is, but I like the way our team is playing right now. Looking at our team, I like where we are."
   Monroe was 12-3 entering a match today against Colonia. The Falcons got wins from Stanley, Darren Goldberg, Jasmin Laferriere, and the doubles teams of Matt Sepe-Kevin Murtha and Lov Patel-Sam Saxena in beating New Brunswick 5-0 Wednesday.
   "We’re very happy with the way everyone is playing right now," Stanley said. "It took a little while for everyone to get to the point they’re playing at right now, but since we reached that point, we’ve been rolling along. The biggest thing is confidence.
   "It’s excellent. With only myself and Darren coming back from last year, we didn’t know how good we’d be coming into the season. I give the guys a lot of credit. Everyone has worked hard in practice to get better; everyone is very dedicated."
   The Falcons have gotten solid contributions from all five positions in the lineup. Goldberg has lost only once at second singles and Sepe-Murtha qualified for the state doubles tournament. The balanced lineup produces more than wins, too.
   "It definitely provides motivation," Stanley said. "You know the other guys are giving 100 percent and you have a legitimate chance to win. Everyone wants to contribute to that. Wins are coming from all different people in different matches. Everyone is pulling their weight. There’s a lot of chemistry. It’s just a really good team."
   Stanley is 9-8 and reached the state singles tournament for the first time. First singles players needed a minimum .600 win percentage by last week’s cutoff date.
   "It was my goal from the beginning of the season," he said. "I knew I could accomplish it. I was hoping to make it by more, but I’m just happy to be in. I plan on getting a few more wins between now and the end of the season. I think I have a legitimate chance to win every match."