The Southold/Greenport doubles team of juniors Will Richter and Dylan Stromski already had one successful season together on their resume coming into this year. So it came as no surprise when the duo continued to pile up wins together this season at first doubles.
Still, there was some surprise when the bracket was unveiled for the Division IV doubles tournament and Richter and Stromski found themselves seeded No. 2.
“They were, as I were, rather shocked they got the second seed,” said Southold coach Andrew Sadowski. “The other coaches in the league recognize their play.”
The goal for the duo became reaching the semifinals, and earning a trip to the county tournament that begins this weekend at Smithtown East High School. The duo accomplished that by winning their first two matches after a first-round bye.
After losing in the semifinals to a tough doubles team from Westhampton, Richter and Stromski found themselves in the consolation finals Monday at William Floyd High School, their trip to the county tournament already locked up.
They faced the No. 4 seed, Dave Barlow and Chris Olgesby of Longwood.
In a three-set match that featured its share of miscues from both teams, Barlow and Olgesby emerged on top 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to take third place. Richter and Stromski settled for fourth place.
“I’m very happy overall with the season they had,” Sadowski said. “They still get to play in the county tournament, which is a great thing.”
The two losses in the division tournament were the first of the year for Richter and Stromski, who are now 12-2 together.
Southold and Longwood faced each other in the league season, but the same doubles teams didn’t meet in that match.
“We knew they were good, we knew they were big,” Sadowski said. “We have a great relationship with the Longwood team. We knew what we were getting.”
After the match, Sadowski even encouraged the Longwood players to step up their intensity for the county tournament, when the level of competition quickly rises.
For much of the match Monday, it seemed as if the players on both teams were a step slow.
“I think they were equally making mistakes throughout the match,” Sadowski said. “It’s the first time getting here. It’s not the norm that we get two League VIII teams to play at this juncture in the season.”
After taking the second set to even the match, Richter and Stromski fell behind 3-0 in the third set before rallying.
“They came back at 4-4 and they needed to hold their serve,” Sadowski said. “I think that game may have gone 40-40 and then the last game they just couldn’t get a bounce.”
As the fourth-place finisher in D-IV, the Southold duo will likely be squared up against the top seed in the county tournament. It’ll be a level of competition the two players rarely see in Division IV, except against the top team from Westhampton.
“I think it’s a great thing for them to experience,” Sadowski said.
Southold may not have the kind of year-round tennis players like some of the top teams in the county do, but Sadowski said all the players this season gave a tremendous effort. When the team would practice early in the season on a 37-degree day, everyone came ready to play, Sadowski said.
“We have the commitment,” he said.
Southold had another doubles team in the division tournament. The duo of Michael Schade and C.P. Cook won their first match before falling to the No. 1 seed from Westhampton.
In singles, Gary Prieto and David O’Day both lost their first matches of the tournament.
League VIII champion Mattituck had three singles players in the tournament. Garrett Malave was one win away from qualifying for the county tournament. He won two matches before falling to No. 2 seed Chris Kuhnle of Shoreham-Wading River. Andrew Young won his first match before falling in the next round. Parker Tuthill also won his first match before falling to fifth-seeded Andrew Reiley of Eastport-South Manor, who finished fourth.
In doubles the duo of Kevin Schwartz and Charles Hickox were one win away from qualifying for the county tournament. They won two matches before losing in the quarterfinals to the top seed from Westhampton.
The Tuckers’ doubles team of Steve Urwand and James Rabkevich lost in the first round.