Even a week away from her 18th birthday, Taylor Ng has plenty to be proud of in her young tennis career.
From her individual state championship in New Jersey, to countless wins in USTA tournaments, Ng dominated the local tennis scene en route to scholarship offers, accolades and much more. But when she arrives at Dartmouth College for the first time in a month, there’s not much question about what she’ll remember most about her stellar junior career.
“It’s fun to win a match, or a tournament and do well on your own,” she said, “but there’s something greater about winning for a team, and sharing that experience with friends and family. Years from now, that’s what I’ll remember most.”
Ng will add to those team memories this fall as a soon-to-be student-athlete at Dartmouth, and will first have another chance to add to them when she represents Middle States during the Girls’ 18 National Team Championships in Claremont, Calif.
The USTA Junior National Team Championships are a chance for some of the best players in each USTA Section to showcase their skills in section-vs.-section battles. Competition in each age division – 12, 14, 16 and 18 – takes place throughout the summer. The Girls’ 18 National Team is coached by Ann Koger, who has coached 32 seasons at Haverford College and was inducted into the Middle States Hall of Fame in 2010.
For Ng, it won’t be the first time she’s been part of a high-performing team. Her four seasons with Haddonfield High School in New Jersey were as impressive as they come. Aside from her individual state title in 2011 – when Ng went 30-0 – her Haddonfield squad twice accomplished the astonishing feat of winning the prestigious Tournament of Champions, which pins the state champion team from each division against one another in bracket-style play. Haddonfield earned that distinction in 2009 and 2012.
“My freshman year, when we won the Tournament of Champions, I don’t think I really understood the significance of it yet,” she said. “The next year and the year after, losing in the semi-finals, made us want to win it that much more because I understood what it took to get there. For me and my teammates, that became our goal this past year.”
During that time, Ng played for coach Jeff Holman, who was inducted into the Middle States Hall of Fame in 2011. Holman is one of the most successful coaches in New Jersey history.
Always team-oriented and giving credit to her coaches, Ng’s play in both singles and doubles earned her MVP honors throughout her career. During her four years at Haddonfield, she helped her team to an overall record of 123-2 and strung together a personal record of 132-11. During her senior season, she lost just 21 games in 44 sets played, with 12 matches and 31 sets coming with 6-0 scores. She didn’t lose a set all season.
“Playing for Jeff was such an honor,” she said. “The school has a no-cut program, which makes it even better. What’s so unique about Coach Holman’s program is that he really cares about your growth. We have matches all the time, and he would still stay after matches to hit, do drills, anything. He was always there, always willing to help in any way we needed it or with anything we wanted. He was a big influence on me.”
“I’m lucky to be playing on the National team, and I’m lucky to be going to college to play,” Ng added. “I really can’t even explain how excited I am. The next few months will be an amazing experience.”