The Mattituck High School boys tennis team could not have asked for a better start to the season.
The Tuckers find themselves atop Suffolk County League VIII with an 8-0 overall and league record, coming off a 5-2 win over the Center Moriches Red Devils on Friday.
But don’t let that final score fool you.
As Mattituck Coach Mike Huey noted, Center Moriches could have prevailed because the Tuckers needed to go the full distance in three matches to pick up three wins. Had Center Moriches (2-6, 2-6) won two of them, Mattituck would have suffered its first loss of the season.
“Our kids did a nice job of figuring it,” Huey said.
The three matches that could have gone either way:
o Mattituck senior Jeff Strider defeated Mike Reid, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, in second singles.
o Mattituck juniors Austin Tuthill and Stefen Kuehn downed Eric Grossman and Sean Paul in second doubles, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.
o And the Mattituck third doubles team of senior Kevin Reyer and sophomore Steve Urwand stopped Zach Schrage and Mike Lemmen, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.
“I’m very proud of the kids,” Huey said. “They’re staying competitive, working hard and figuring out ways to win. That has proven to be the difference on the team.”
The two other wins came from a pair of seventh-graders who have played like upperclassmen at the third and fourth singles spots — Garrett Malave and Parker Tuthill, respectively.
Malave beat Joshua LeBrun, 7-5, 6-2, and Tuthill, the younger brother of Austin Tuthill, defeated Pat Clark, 7-5 (7-5), 6-3.
Both seventh-graders are undefeated in their first varsity season.
Huey has coached seventh-graders before, but having two talented youngsters at the same time is quite rare. “I’ve been coaching tennis for a long time,” he said. “It’s never happened to me before.”
In the first singles match, Mattituck senior Casey Ciamaricone lost to Justin Cabrora in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.
Seniors and first double partners Joe Pfaff and Connor Davis lost to Center Moriches’ Mike Valentine and Mike Oldham, 6-3, 6-3. But Huey figured his duo will qualify for the county championships later this spring. “I expect them to do well,” he said.
Prior to the season, Huey said the Tuckers had a good shot at winning the league title, but he also realizes how close winning and losing can be.
“There is so much parity that on any given day, any team can win,” Huey said. “We have to keep doing well to stay on top.”
The Tuckers’ closest match this season was a 4-3 victory over the William Floyd Colonials (5-6, 5-2).
“We were lucky a little bit,” Huey said. “Some of the players were on a European trip.”
As it turns out, after taking a week off because of spring break, Mattituck’s next foe will be William Floyd at home on April 27.
“That’s going to be a tough match to start off right away after vacation,” Huey said.