Captains a constant leadership source for Sparta tennis

Sparta. Kelly Groome, Sasha Pryce and Isabella Sportelli led the Sparta Township High School girls’ tennis team to becoming one of the top teams in Sussex County.

Sparta /
| 07 Nov 2022 | 04:05

Through the ups and downs that just about all athletics teams encounter throughout the course of a given season, something that remained constant this fall for the Sparta High School girls tennis program was the strong leadership of the senior captains: Kelly Groome, Sasha Pryce and Isabella Sportelli.

The Spartans earned six overall victories and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 Sectional Tournament this year.

“Their teammates chose them at the end of last season,’’ Sparta head coach Andrew Lowery said. “They are great role models. Kelly made it to the semifinals of the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament and lost to the eventual winner. Sparta came in fourth place out 15 and was the top team in Sussex County.’’

Groome began her tennis career as a freshman in high school.

“I liked how tennis was different in that it was more of a self-dependent sport than what I had previously played,’’ Groome said. “I was further inspired to pursue tennis by my mom and dad who both played tennis in high school. My dad was coincidentally also captain of the Sparta High School tennis team when he was a senior.

“My grandmother and mom, who have been to many of my matches, cheering me on [are positive influences in her athletic career]. Also, my dad was always willing to sign me up for lessons and clinics. Lastly would be one of my trainers, Anne Lyons who I would credit with helping me develop most of my tennis skills from the past two to three years.’’

A number of student athletes helped Sparta succeed on the court in 2022.

“Kiera Murphy and Alecxis Villapando have our highest winning percentage at first doubles,’’ Lowery said. “They [played in the NJSIAA state doubles tournament in October] down at Mercer County Park. Scarlet Matteson has performed well at first singles and Julia Miller, a sophomore, has really improved and done a great job at third singles.’’