Boys Tennis: Tuckers are looking for that fourth point

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03/23/2015 5:00 PM |
Mattituck's top singles player, Garrett Malave, went 13-4 and was a conference quarterfinalist last year. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Mattituck’s top singles player, Garrett Malave, went 13-4 and was a conference quarterfinalist last year. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

PREVIEW

It’s simple math. Four points produce a win in a 7-point game.

The Mattituck High School boys tennis team can feel pretty good about how it will get 3 of those points. The Tuckers are top-heavy. Their top three singles players — Garret Malave, Parker Tuthill and Andrew Young — are still swinging rackets.

But the question remains: Just where will that fourth point come from?

Perhaps it will come from Ty Bugdin, the only other returning letterman.

While Mike Huey doesn’t have to worry about his first three singles slots, this year he has seen one of the largest roster turnovers he has ever experienced in his 39 years as Mattituck’s coach.

The Tuckers have many new faces, and wintry weather has forced the team to practice indoors more than it would like.

The all-division Malave (13-4 last year) and the all-league Tuthill (13-4) are both juniors who reached the quarterfinals of the Suffolk County Conference IV Tournament. Young (15-2), a senior, was all-division.

Bugdin played mostly doubles last year, but is currently penciled in at fourth singles.

Huey said his top players are hitting the ball well. However, like a player’s toss on a serve, so much is up in the air.

“I have a lot of kids that I have to sift through,” said Huey.

Two seniors, Chris Moichan and Josh Hassildine, look like they have the makings of a first doubles team. Lucas Kosmynka, an eighth-grader, and freshman Tucker Johansson have nice strokes and have shown a lot of promise. Those two played a lot of singles for the junior varsity team last season, but will play doubles this year. “I’m sure they will be in and out of the lineup at some points,” said Huey.

Also in the mix are seniors Pulith Peiris, Dan Parks and Brian Dougherty. Four juniors — Austin Gao, Matt Wells, Liam Finnegan and Ben Herbert — are all vying for third doubles positions.

“There’s a lot of parity,” said Huey.

The Tuckers had quite a season last year, going 12-5. As the 11th seed in the Suffolk County Team Tournament, they defeated Longwood before losing to Westhampton Beach in the round of 16.

The Tuckers don’t have as much depth as they did last year, though. Because numbers are down, it doesn’t look as if Mattituck will carry a junior varsity team. The varsity team has 17 players.

“You just adjust,” said Huey.

Southold/Greenport takes quite a few unknowns into the new season, but coach Andrew Sadowski likes the competitiveness he has seen during preseason practices.

“They’re taking it more serious so they’re pushing it,” he said of his players.

What isn’t known is exactly who will play what positions. Challenge matches are expected to be played this week.

Two seniors, Greg Quist and Tom Messana, were in the lineup last year. A pair of juniors, Aidan Walker and Aidan Vandenburgh, have been brought up from the junior varsity team. They will battle for playing time along with seniors Gus Rhymer, Liam Anderer, Steven Amato, Nick Frodella, Kirk Smith and Nick Van Mater.

“There’s a decent amount of turnover,” said Sadowski, who had close to 30 players come out for the varsity and junior varsity teams.

Because of snow-covered courts, the team had to hold a number of indoor practices, with the focus on conditioning so that the First Settlers will be ready when the matches count.

With the team’s first match scheduled for Monday at Center Moriches, a lot must be determined, as far as player rankings, in a short time period.

“We have to have that all worked out by Friday,” Sadowski said. “We’re praying for warm weather.”

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