HURRICANES 4, TUCKERS 3
The sweet taste of a championship season soured a bit for the Mattituck High School boys tennis team on Thursday.
Having already secured at least a share of the Suffolk County League VII championship, the Tuckers were on the verge of clinching the title outright. Then came controversy and a costly forfeit.
What originally appeared to be a match-clinching victory by Mattituck’s third doubles team was later declared a forfeit when Westhampton Beach’s coach, John Czartosieski, complained about the inclusion of a fill-in on Mattituck’s first doubles team. When senior Chris Maichan did not show up for the match at Mattituck High School, another senior, Brian Doherty, was paired with Maichan’s regular partner, senior Josh Hassildine, at first doubles.
Czartosieski argued that, as per rule, the Tuckers were obligated to bump one of their second doubles players up the ladder to the vacant first-doubles slot or substantiate that Doherty had beaten other Mattituck doubles players to earn his place on the first doubles team.
Tuckers coach Mike Huey later said he could not prove that his first doubles team was better than his second and third teams. As a result, the 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) win by Mattituck’s Austin Gao and Matt Wells over Adam Sheren and Will Nadal at third doubles was ruled a forfeit in Westhampton Beach’s favor. That turned a 4-3 Mattituck team win in their final regular-season match into a 4-3 decision for Westhampton Beach.
The Tuckers (10-4, 9-3) must now wait to see if they will have to share the title with anyone else. A three-way tie for first place is possible with The Ross School (8-5, 8-3) and Shoreham-Wading River (7-5, 7-3) in the running.
Huey said he had expected Maichan to be at the match, and when the player didn’t show, he wrote out his lineup quickly.
“It’s a technicality,” Huey said. “I probably screwed up because it was so quickly done.”
Huey said the Tuckers don’t play challenge matches because Mattituck has only four courts and there isn’t enough court time. He said his second and third doubles players, as well as exhibition players, are close in ability, and Doherty had been in the lineup earlier in the season.
“Brian Doherty is not a bad player,” Huey said. “He is a good player, and in the beginning of the year he was ahead of the other guys.”
Czartosieski said he noticed the difference in Mattituck’s lineup from the first time the teams played on April 15, a 4-3 Mattituck victory. Doherty did not play in that match, he said.
“The best word to describe it is just unfortunate. I have the highest respect for Coach Huey,” said Czartosieski, a former Southold High School player who said he has known Huey for more than 39 years. Czartosieski added: “I want to win, but I want to win fair and square. I don’t mind losing fair and square, either.”
Westhampton Beach (6-7, 6-5) was the League VII champion last year. The Hurricanes have won nine league titles and 205 team matches under Czartosieski since 2000, but have lost seven players from their 2014 lineup.
Huey said he was surprised that Czartosieski had a problem with Doherty playing first doubles. “I don’t think we gained any advantage from it,” he said. Huey said he has never experienced a situation like this before in his 39 years as Mattituck’s coach.
After the match, Huey met with his players and told them about the forfeit.
In their previous match, a 7-0 defeat of Rocky Point, the Tuckers assured themselves of their 10th league title and fifth since 2000, when they last finished atop League VII. The Tuckers are already assured of a place in the 24-team Suffolk County Team Tournament. It will be their 11th straight year in the playoffs.
Mattituck’s top three singles players — Garrett Malave, Parker Tuthill and Andrew Young — all came through with two-set wins on Thursday. Malave put away 29 winners to Riley Smith’s nine in a 6-2, 6-1 result. Tuthill triumphed over Andrew Hempel, 6-2, 6-0, and Young beat Nick Brismande, 6-0, 6-0.
The fourth singles match went to Westhampton Beach’s Peter Marotta. He defeated Ty Bugdin, 6-2, 6-4.
Raj Chayalod and Sam Santora were 6-1, 6-1 winners over Doherty and Hassildine. Westhampton Beach’s second doubles pairing of Christian Prag and Owen Williams prevailed in the only three-setter of the day, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4, over Tucker Johansson and Lucas Kosmynak.
While walking away from the court after it was all over, Huey acknowledged that the forfeit had dampened spirits. He said, “We still got a title, and I think in the kids’ minds we won it on the court.”