The Port Washington Vikings captured the Long Island Championship on Wednesday afternoon, defeating Half Hollow Hills East 4-3 in the title match at The Hamlet Golf & Country Club in Commack.
“It feels great,” said Port Washington head coach Shane Helfner. “It’s been a really amazing season with a lot of ups and downs, and to see it end in this way, being Long Island Champions is just the cherry on top.
When our team is healthy and we have everyone here, our team is really tough to beat. And I think that showed today. I’m really proud.”
The Vikings got on the board early thanks to Gabriele Brancatelli at second singles as he won 6-0, 6-0 over Hills East’s Dylan D’Agate.
“I think I played really well,” said Brancatelli. “I served well, and I think I had only two unforced errors. I managed the points really well; I did what was needed of me, no more, no less. And I got the job done. He was a good opponent so I just tried to have a smart game plan.”
Alexander Karman won his match at first singles with a 6-1, 6-0 triumph over Ishen Verma, and Rajen Parekh and Sam Schaub notched a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Atreye Rewet and Jon Ledenheim at third doubles to bring Port Washington within one win of the Long Island title.
That win would come from the second doubles court, as Charlie Dash and Josh Rosen defeated Matt Andelsman and Jesse Kanofsky 7-5, 6-0.
“It felt great to have the championship on our racket, and to come down to a bagel at the end,” said Dash.
“We finished our undefeated season, so that’s great,” added Rosen. “We knew our team had three points we really wanted to pull through and get the victory.”
Hills East got wins from Albert Chang and Michael Han at first doubles, Aryan Sethi at third singles, and Krithik Medirethy at fourth singles.
For Sethi, a senior, being able to pick up a win in the final match of his high school career was special, despite the overall team loss.
“I was definitely just thinking about this being my last match ever in high school, and I’m going to leave it all out on the courts and try my best,” said Sethi. “That’s what I tried my best to do and I think I did it well. It was the best season I ever had. I couldn’t wish for a better team or a better coach. Honestly, this season has basically been like a dream or movie.”
The Long Island title capped off what has been an outstanding run of play for the Vikings over the last several weeks. After a rocky start to the season, Port Washington put together a winning streak from the middle of the regular season on that saw it defeat top programs Roslyn and Syosset, and then repeating those wins in the semifinals and finals, respectively, of the Nassau County playoffs.
“The guys always talked about how we just have to get through some of our injuries and hang around, and stay competitive as we could,” said Helfner. “They realized that when everyone is here we can be the best team; they had that mentality. In a way we enjoyed being the underdog, having the fourth-seed in the playoffs. We felt the pressure would be on the other teams, and we came into every match thinking we could do some good things and hopefully end up with the win in the end.”
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.