LIONS 5, CLIPPERS 2
It was cold outside, and yet Devyn Standish was hot. Southold/Greenport’s top singles player was hot, bothered and angry at the last person he could afford to be angry with — himself.
As one miscue led to another, Standish banged his tennis racket on the court. The senior was losing control of his emotions and, perhaps not coincidentally, losing the match.
After Longwood junior Dave Barlow swept points in the fourth game of the second set, Standish just sat down on the court, stared into space and tried to regain his composure.
Southold/Greenport coach Andrew Sadowski later described it as a “mental meltdown.”
Tennis is a funny game. For all of the physical demands the sport places on players, the mental demands can be as great or greater. Standish knows only too well.
Standish’s efforts aside, the day belonged to Barlow, a 6-1, 6-2 winner in 48 minutes. Longwood won the Suffolk County League VIII match on its home courts, 5-2, on Friday.
Call it another step in Standish’s self-improvement program.
Standish’s competitiveness helped him reach the level he has attained. After playing as Southold/Greenport’s second singles player the last two years, he has taken over the No. 1 position, and all that comes with it. Along the way, he has beaten many opponents. Ironically, Standish’s competitive nature, which helped him in one sense, hurts him in another when he lets his anger at himself get the better of him. That’s when things unravel and he starts beating himself, he said.
“For me, it’s a personal thing,” he said after Friday’s match. “If I play bad, I get a little ticked off. Honestly, you want to play better and you know you can play better. I’ve tried working on it and I’ve gotten a little better. Last year I broke like two rackets.”
A lot was against Standish on Friday. The cold, windy weather hardly suited his aggressive style.
Wind can be a tennis player’s worst enemy, but it may be Barlow’s best friend. Barlow, a patient player, said he actually likes playing in the wind, which adds more movement to his drop shots and lobs. “It’s more of an advantage for me,” he said. “I don’t mind it.”
That only added to Standish’s aggravation.
“His biggest challenge, really, is playing patiently,” Sadowski said. “He doesn’t play patiently because he wants to play his more aggressive style of tennis. Then he comes across someone who is very patient, he gets frustrated with it and then obviously once his frustration picks up, then his concentration goes down the tubes, and that’s where he has issues.”
Both players broke each other’s serve in the first three games before Barlow took control, winning the last five games of the first set and the first game of the second set.
Barlow, wearing bright neon green sneakers, served for 10 aces and did not commit a double fault. His athleticism came in handy as he retrieved shots and allowed Standish only 4 winners. Barlow outpointed Standish, 55-27. In addition, Barlow put 47 percent of his first serves in play. Standish finished at 32 percent on his first serves.
On a scale of 1 to 10, Standish graded himself a 4 or a 5. “It wasn’t the best,” he said. “It really wasn’t.”
At the same time, Standish was lavish in his praise of Barlow. “He was amazing,” Standish said. “He’s so athletic. He got to some pretty nice shots and my serves. I was pretty impressed. I give him a thumbs up for that.”
In Southold/Greenport’s 6-1 season-opening win over Center Moriches on Wednesday, Standish won his match, 6-3, 6-1, over Preston Smith. But Standish didn’t practice Thursday because he had a cold.
On Friday, the Clippers were missing three players from their regular lineup: first doubles player Will Richter, second doubles player Rob Melly and fourth singles player Sean O’Donnell. The domino affect that had on the lineup “could be the difference between winning and losing the match,” said Sadowski.
Singles wins were also recorded for Longwood (2-1, 2-0) by Nick Zier (7-5, 6-1 over Greg Prieto at third singles) and Evan Arena (6-0, 6-3 over James Shine at fourth singles).
Southold/Greenport’s David O’Day triumphed in his second singles contest, 7-6 (7-0), 6-1 over Indranel Mitra.
Two of the three doubles matches went Longwood’s way. The second doubles team of Taylor Fichtnez and Chris Olgesby took a three-setter from C. P. Cook and Michael Schade, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2. Meanwhile, the third doubles team of Jon Cruz and Matt Covati had an easier time, downing Kenji Fujita and Aiden Walker, 6-1, 6-1.
Drew Sacher and Dylan Stromski brought the Clippers a point at first doubles with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Igor Artemowicz and Marc Arbusio.
The third day of spring was not one most would find conducive to tennis. “It’s definitely not really tennis weather right now,” said Barlow.
Longwood coach Chris Garner said: “The ski gear and the Under Armour are still not working. I have to go an additional layer, I think.”
Meanwhile, Standish is working on keeping his cool when he feels his blood starting to boil.
“That’s why I sat down [on the court], actually,” he said. “I had to take a breather. Even though they told me to get up, I was like: ‘I got to sit down for a second. I got to relax, clear my mind.’ It didn’t really work that well, but I tried, at least I try.”