BOB LIEPA PHOTO
Tim Young of Mattituck had to contend with wind gusts in his 6-1, 6-1 win over Tim Berglin of Hampton Bays last Thursday at Red Creek Park.
HAMPTON BAYS — Connor Davis hopped off the school bus and immediately got an idea of what he had to contend with. It smacked him right in the face.
“I felt the wind,” the Mattituck High School junior said. “It almost pushed me over.”
Welcome to the wind tunnel at Red Creek Park.
Well, at least it felt like a wind tunnel at times, with gusts in the area reportedly approaching 30 mph. That is what both the Mattituck and Hampton Bays boys tennis teams had to deal with when they played each other last Thursday.
Hampton Bays Coach Rodney Way summed up the wind conditions with one word: “Horrendous.”
The wind is said to be a great equalizer, but it wasn’t enough of an equalizer for Hampton Bays. Davis and Casey Ciamaricone both brought their season records to 10-1 with victories in Mattituck’s 7-0 rout in the Suffolk County League VIII match.
All seven of the matches were decided in two sets. Davis and Ciamaricone both won by 6-0, 6-1 scores. Davis beat Andrew Maurizio in second singles and Ciamaricone topped Steve Rojas in fourth singles.
Joe Pfaff served for 15 aces and made only two unforced errors in a 6-0, 6-3 victory over his first-singles opponent, Matthaeusz Wrobel.
The other singles point for Mattituck (7-4, 7-4) came from Tim Young, who scored a 6-1, 6-1 decision over Tim Berglin.
The doubles matches didn’t go any better for winless Hampton Bays, which lost for the 10th time in as many matches. Mattituck’s No. 1 doubles team of Jake Gamberg and Brett Jermusyk posted a 6-0, 6-2 win over Maddy Martin and Henry Quiros. In second doubles, Kevin Reyer and Jeff Streider got the better of Luis Campos and Donny White, 6-2, 6-2. The final contest of the day was in third doubles. Eamon Deegan and Colin Keil downed Alek Kozuchowski and Fred Nydegger, 6-2, 6-2.
“They’re a strong team,” Way said of the Tuckers. “They look like they’re very consistent … They’re playing some good matches at the moment.”
Being a player who likes to use a high toss on his serves certainly didn’t help someone like Pfaff on a day like this. Pfaff, who brought his record to 7-4, double-faulted three times in each of two games he lost.
“It changes the game a lot because not only when you hit the ball, but when the ball bounces, it’s hard to judge,” Pfaff said. “It moves it around in the air.”
Further complicating matters was that it was a nasty crosswind that flew over the courts, making it even tougher to track the flight of tennis balls.
While surrounding trees offered some protection from the wind, the tennis courts at Red Creek Park sit above ground level, making them susceptible to wind gusts.
“The wind is the worst,” Way said. “It’s not fun for a strong player, and it’s really not fair for an average player.”
One might be hard-pressed to find a player who actually likes playing in the wind. Adjustments need to be made. To deal with the wind, players make lower tosses on serves, take shorter swings and play more conservatively.
That is what Davis did.
“Instead of trying to hit winners,” he said, “I tried to keep it in play, trying to keep it on the court and hopefully he messes up before I do.”
Mattituck Coach Mike Huey, whose team was to close out its regular season yesterday with a home match against the William Floyd Colonials, said the wind has been an issue in matches and practices for the past week. The Tuckers’ home courts can be an especially windy place, situated alongside open fields, so dealing with the wind is nothing new for them.
“We’ve had plenty [of days] like these throughout the years. This is not terrible,” Huey said. “It would be a lot worse if it was at Mattituck.”