On Monday afternoon, the Hills East Thunderbirds and Commack Cougars squared off in the Suffolk County Championship in a matchup of the county’s top two seeds, and a rematch of last year’s final.
This time, however, it was Hills East who would come out on top, using the home-court advantage to reclaim the county crown with a 4-2 victory.
I played here 10 years ago, so I knew the dynasty we had here, so it wasn’t the hardest adjustment. I knew we were going to put in the work,” said Steven Ferrantello, who is in his first year as the Hills East head coach. “They make me look good sometimes. They bought into the program I brought forward, and I couldn’t be more impressed with the effort they put in today.”
Matt Andelsman and Jesse Kanofsky got things started for Hills East with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Cooper Schoenfeld and Kevin Chen at second doubles. Soon after, Dylan D’Agate notched a 6-3, 6-4 win over Matt Strogach at second singles, and Ishan Varma won 6-2, 7-6(1) over Tyler D’Amato on the first singles court.
“We actually played earlier this season, and he beat me fairly easily,” said Varma. “I know he is normally a doubles player, so I had to hit some deeper shots and not let him come to the net. My serve was really good today and that helped me pull out the win.
Last year we lost the championship, and I lost my match, so it’s great to come back this year and win mine to help the team.”
Commack had secured the third doubles point as Mike Parrinello and Jake Forte won 6-4, 6-2 over Atreya Rawat and Alex Raphaelson, which meant with three courts remaining, Hills East needed one victory to clinch the title.
That victory would come at third singles, as Michael Han, who had captured the county doubles title with teammate Albert Chang a few days prior, played a dominant second-set tiebreak to beat Gabe Chan 6-2, 7-6(1) and seal his team’s win.
“When I got it back to 5-6 I asked coach what the [team] score was and he told me it was 3-1, and that I was about to win it,” said Han.
Commack’s second point came from James Yu and Eddie Liao who won 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 over Albert Cheng and Aryan Sethi at first doubles. The fourth singles contest between Commack’s Jake Stadok and Hills East’s Krithik Madisetty was tied 1-1 in the third set when the overall match was clinched.
“The depth of this team, we got it from every single position,” added Ferrantello. “Each match throughout the year we got wins from different courts. And I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.