The top Tucker of them all is a genuine Tucker.
That would be Tucker Johansson, the first singles tennis player for the Mattituck Tuckers. A true Tucker in more ways than one, Johansson has made the considerable leap from playing third or fourth singles last year to the No. 1 singles slot this season.
“I love it,” the senior said. “I love first singles.”
To put things in perspective, coach Mike Huey noted that Johansson was a strong third singles player last year. With his swift two-set win over William Floyd sophomore Patrick Barnett on Wednesday, Johansson evened his season record at 3-3. Mattituck won the Suffolk County League VIII match, 6-1, on its home court.
“He’s been doing excellent,” Huey said. “He’s playing very well right now.”
Johansson said since last season he decided he wanted to play tennis in college, something he said he will do at the Division III level for Pennsylvania College of Technology. He committed himself to the sport and worked in the offseason with his training partner and Mattituck’s No. 2 singles player, junior Lucas Kosmynka. The two could be seen on the courts in cold, inclement weather, hitting against each other.
“When it’s pouring rain we’re still out here, just to get that hitting time,” Kosmynka said. “Every hit we hit, we just get better and better. The more we hit, we’ll be able to face better opponents and hopefully have those tools that we created and worked with.”
Johansson improved his serve and upgraded his forehand.
“The thing he’s improved a lot on is his forehand slice, believe it or not,” Huey said. “He’s got a nice little touch on that forehand slice and uses it as an approach shot to come to the net and put the ball away.”
That was seen Wednesday when Johansson dispatched Barnett, 6-0, 6-2, in 38 minutes. Johansson put away 32 winners to Barnett’s nine, and registered 18 service aces.
“That is a lot,” said Johansson, who outpointed his opponent, 51-26.
“I play aggressive,” he said. “I’ve been starting more aggressive, especially with my serve. I’ve been trying to get more aggressive on that, which is obviously helping a lot.”
Kosmynka has benefitted by hitting with Johansson every day. With his 6-0, 6-1 defeat of Floyd freshman Sergei Rogers, Kosmynka remained undefeated at 6-0.
“I think I’m playing well,” Kosmynka said. “Where I lose most of my points is [when] my mental game starts to come apart, not so much the physical game. Besides that, I feel like I’ve been playing very consistent. Some unforced errors here and there, but overall I think I’m doing pretty well.”
As is Mattituck (4-2, 4-1) as a team. Two of the Tuckers’ losses have been by 4-3 scores to Southold/Greenport and Southampton.
Mattituck’s second doubles team of juniors Savvas Giannaris and Chris Siejka provided the match-clinching team point with a 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-4 victory over sophomore Andrew Demartino and freshman Matt Domingus in the only three-setter of the day.
Mattituck juniors Kyle Schwartz and Joey Sciotto averted a third set by winning a second-set tiebreaker against freshman Matt Cangolowski and sophomore Andrew Cerase at third doubles. Schwartz and Sciotto took the first set, 7-5.
Seniors Luke Bokina and Brian Feeney led Mattituck’s sweep of the three doubles matches by beating sophomore John Centeno and senior James Seeger, 6-0, 6-2.
Mattituck’s third singles player, senior Sam Fisk, was a 7-5, 6-0 winner over senior Tom Panicola.
Sophomore Vinny Faddizzo provided Floyd (4-2, 4-2) with its only point through a 6-4, 6-0 win over senior Jake Sciara at fourth singles.
Photo caption: Mattituck’s first singles player, Tucker Johansson, used 32 winners and 18 service aces to defeat William Floyd’s Patrick Barnett in 38 minutes. (Credit: Bob Liepa)