| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

Syosset won their third straight Nassau County championship last week, and on Friday afternoon, finally got its opportunity to compete for a Long Island championship in the USTA Long Island Executive Cup at The Hamlet Golf and Country Club in Commack.

With that mindset, the Braves won for the 52nd straight time, beating Half Hollow Hills East 6-1 to be crowned Long Island’s best team.

“We want to grow the sport, and to give the kids the opportunity to play this final match against the Suffolk champion. It was great tennis all around today, amazing sportsmanship. I’m very proud of these guys. They really played their best again. It’s great for the sport,” said Syosset head coach Shai Fisher. “Hills East is a powerhouse, we know that. And anytime you go against a Suffolk champion that has their history, you never take them for granted.”

On a warm and sunny afternoon, freshman Kabir Rajpal got things started for Syosset with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Sandy Greenberg at second singles to give the Braves the early lead.

Playing on the court directly next to Rajpal, junior Eli Grossman padded the advantage for Syosset by winning 6-2, 6-1 against Avi Anand.

“It’s amazing. This is what we worked for all year. We had in the back of our heads that this is the main goal. To be here and win it, I’m truly speechless,” said Grossman.”I told the guys that nothing else besides this match mattered. The streak doesn’t matter, the win against Roslyn doesn’t matter. If we lose today it was all for nothing. This is where you have to make the most of the opportunity and seize it.”

Eli Grossman, a Syosset co-captain, won his third singles match in straight sets.

As has been the case all season, the depth of Syosset was on display across the courts with great performances from its doubles teams. Andre Kirkorian and Yash Samantaray notched a 6-4, 6-3 win at second doubles over Jai Madisetty and Brandon James to put the Braves on the brink of the title.

Within minutes, Syosset would earn that clinching point, and it would come from its first doubles team on Hamlet’s center court. Preet Rajpal and Adam Canarick hung on to beat Adam Wilck and Tyler London 6-3, 7-5 to seal the title.

“It’s my final year here, so I’ve had the three county championships. But this is something different, something new,” said Samantaray. “It’s a great way to end it, to have both the county championship and the Long Island Executive Cup.”

Rounding out the doubles matchups was Josh Antell and Jeremy Levine who came back to win 6-7(5), 6-3, 10-2 against Paul Rhee and Adam Stein at third doubles.

Syosset’s Justin Oresky would win 7-5, 6-4 against Ethan Ertel at fourth singles in the day’s final match. Abhinav Srivastava came back to beat Neel Rajesh 3-6, 7-6, 10-6 at first singles for Hills East’s lone point.

The Executive Cup was arranged by USTA Long Island and the coaches and coordinators from both Nassau and Suffolk districts with the idea of ultimately bringing back the Long Island championship for tennis. The first installment of the Executive Cup was played last fall during the girls’ season, when Friends Academy defeated Commack.

“We knew that the sport needed it, so we worked together to make it happen,” said Mike Pavlides, USTA Long Island Region’s High School Representative. “This was the perfect way to pilot it to see if there was anything that we missed.”

Since the final was played in Suffolk, it went by the district’s lineup rules of four singles players and three doubles teams. When the championship is played in Nassau next year, it will switch to the Nassau lineup of three singles matches and four doubles.