SUFFOLK COUNTY TEAM TOURNAMENT | THUNDERBIRDS 6, TUCKERS 1
Like Mount Olympus, the upper three tennis courts at Half Hollow Hills East High School in Dix Hills sit on an elevated plot of land, with greenery and trees bounding two sides and birds of all types gliding from one tree to another. It may be the most scenic setting in Suffolk County high school boys tennis. Serene. Peaceful. Lovely.
It is not the home of tennis gods, although the Thunderbirds may seem like such to opponents.
Consider Hills East’s impressive record: Over the past 30 years, it has collected 11 Suffolk County championships, reached 18 county finals, taken nine of the last 10 county titles and the past five in a row.
Not bad, huh?
Hills East had won 106 straight matches against Suffolk teams before that run was ended this season. “We lost two,” said coach Tom Depelteau, sounding as if it was a great letdown.
But don’t be fooled. Hills East is still a power, loaded with talent that survived a tryout involving 50 players.
That was what underdog Mattituck was up against Thursday in its round of 16 match in the Suffolk County Team Tournament. The result was pretty much as expected.Aside from a singles win by Andrew Young, second-seeded Hills East won every match for a 6-1 victory. It will next play No. 7 Huntington or No. 10 Miller Place in a quarterfinal on Tuesday.
The No. 15 Tuckers finished the season with an 11-5 record, a share of the League VII championship along with The Ross School, and a playoff win over Sayville. Coach Mike Huey said the team accomplished everything it wanted to.
Three Mattituck seniors — Young, Josh Hassildine and Chris Molchan— all played their final match for the Tuckers. Young ended on a winning note, defeating his opponent at third singles, Sandy Greenberg. After Greenberg won the first set, 6-4, Young prevailed in a tiebreaker, 11-9, before taking a super tiebreaker, 10-4.
Hassildine and Molchan, playing first doubles, were defeated by Tyler Landon and Ross Reiffman, 6-1, 6-0.
The second singles match was decided by a super tiebreaker. Abhinaw Srivastava edged Parker Tuthill, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 10-8.
Travis Leaf limited himself to four double faults and five unforced errors to triumph at first singles, 6-4, 6-0, over Garrett Malave. The fourth singles match went to Bradley Weltmann, a 6-0, 6-4 winner over Ty Bugdin.
Hills East (15-2) also received doubles wins from Justin Dubler and Brian Rhee (6-1, 6-0 over Tucker Johansson and Lucas Kosmynka) and Paul Rhee and Adam Stein (6-0, 6-0 over Austin Gao and Matt Wells).