After the first set, Lugtu showed the form that made her one of the nation’s top-ranked youth players before high school.
In today’s semifinals, Lugtu will face Northern Highlands’ second-seeded Riya Ravi while top-seeded Ashley Hess of Holy Angels meets Ridgewood’s fourth-seeded Alana Kerner.
In the team competition, defending champion Northern Highlands and Holy Angels both sent all five of their entries into the semifinals to earn 10 points each.
Hess, who lost to Paramus Catholic’s reigning state singles champion Andrea Cerdan in each of the last two county finals, said she was both surprised and disappointed after hearing that Cerdan was sitting out her junior year of high school tennis.
On the other side of the spectrum, Ridgewood’s Kerner admitted she doesn’t expect to beat Hess in today’s semis.
Kerner did show why she’s considered North Jersey’s top freshman this year, though, as she dusted Ramapo’s Shannon Cicero and NV/Old Tappan’s Talia Shapira in the first two rounds, losing just five games combined.
Ravi, who lost to Hess in last year’s semifinals, 6-3 and 6-2, is hoping for another shot at the Angels’ ace and a different result.