Holy Spirit senior Adrienne Kaye wanted to end her high school tennis career the right way.
So she advanced her game.
She took her serve to another level, while introducing her net game to area opponents.
The 17-year-old Egg Harbor City resident posted a 26-3 record, reached the quarterfinals of the South Jersey Interscholastic Championships and won her third straight Cape-Atlantic League individual singles title. She also led the Spartans to their seventh straight outright CAL National Conference title and ninth straight overall.
Kaye is The Press girls tennis Player of the Year for the third year in a row.
"The first time was definitely a surprise," Kaye said. "I was just a sophomore. Winning the next two times is just amazing. This time is more exciting because it's senior year, my last year obviously, and that's how I wanted to end it.
"Winning three years in a row is an incredible feeling," she added. "Not many people have done it, so it's definitely an honor. It's a great feeling and a big thing for me."
In her final season, Kaye surpassed the 100 wins mark and won 25 of her 26 matches in straight sets.
By winning the CAL tournament for the third time, she became the first player to win more than two titles since Lower Cape May Regional graduate Jacque Riddle won four from 1996-1999. It also marked her third tournament victory without losing a set.
She also continued her unbeaten streak in the CAL. Her only loss to a CAL opponent came in her freshman season in the quarterfinal round of the CAL individual tournament. She finished her career with an 81-1 record in the league.
"It was an honor and a pleasure that Adrienne chose to come to Holy Spirit and to play tennis," coach Diane Kresz said. "It was great to know that every time we had a match that I had a guaranteed point with Adrienne. With Adrienne, it's not about the hard work, it was her mental attitude.
"She was the best player in the area three years in a row, but she didn't act like she was better than anybody else, and that's what's really hard to come by. When you know your going to go out there and beat everybody, and you don't act like it, it shows how humbled she is."
Kaye plans to play in college. She's looking at several NCAA Division II schools including Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., Francis Marion in Florence, S.C. and Florida Southern in Lakeland, Fla.
She also could chose between Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C., a D-III school or Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C., a D-I school.
Kresz feels that any school would be lucky to have her on their team. Kresz was there to see her game evolve into one good enough for the college level.
"When I was younger, I was more scrappy, just trying to get stuff back," Kaye said. "And as I got older I got more aggressive, my serve got better and I got to the net more and advanced my game that way."
Adrienne never imagined that she would have success so quickly during her freshman year.
"When I came in as a freshman I was a little scrawny thing that just loved playing tennis,"she said. "It was what I did. But I grew both mentally and physically and it just turned into something I loved to do all the time. I improved and got a lot better and played very well."
Team of the year
It's only fitting that the best player in the Press area plays for the best team.
Holy Spirit produced another winning season with a 19-1 record and its seventh straight outright CAL National Conference title. The Spartans have held at least a share of the title for the past nine years, overall. Holy Spirit is No. 7 in the Press Elite 11 with their only loss coming to No. 5 Bishop Eustace in the South Jersey Non-Public A semifinals. The Spartans also captured 13 shutout victories.
Senior Kaitlyn Bonner was 14-6-1 at second singles. The first doubles team of Katie Kresz and Dana DiStefano were 19-3 , while junior third singles player Madison Gallagher was 18-4. Kresz often says that you're only as strong as your second doubles team, which is made up of junior Kerin Maguire and sophomore Emery Gewirtz (16-2).
"It feels good (to be a part of the team of the year)," said Bonner, a 17-year old Mays Landing resident. "Our team works really hard and our team is like a family. We all work together. In my season I was always the last person done (my match) and my team stood behind me. At times when I was losing I came back and won the match (with their support). It feels great to win all the matches we won, not just as teammates, but as best friends."
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