SUFFOLK COUNTY TEAM TOURNAMENT | TUCKERS 5, GOLDEN FLASHES 2
The tennis tiebreaker can be a backbreaker or an uplifter, depending on which side of the score a player is on. For the Mattituck High School boys first doubles team on Wednesday, it was the latter — times two.
Josh Hassildine and Chris Molchan showed fortitude under pressure, overcame setbacks and battled to win not one, but two tiebreakers as the 15th-seeded Tuckers ousted No. 18 Sayville, 5-2, in a Suffolk County Team Tournament outbracket match.
Hassildine and Molchan, both seniors, prevailed in the first tiebreaker, 7-1, and then triumphed by 7-4 in the second. Not that the Tuckers (11-4) needed it, having already secured the team victory, but it made for good theater, nonetheless, at Mattituck High School.
The Tuckers christened their 11th straight appearance in the playoffs by sweeping all four singles matches. Of them all, the most competitive may have been fourth singles, which saw Ty Bugdin rally for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Brian Sputh.
Mattituck’s second singles player, Parker Tuthill, ended his match against Tom Esposito-Kelley on a tiebreaker, winning 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).
Garrett Malave coasted past Jake Hoffman at first singles, 6-0, 6-0, in 32 minutes. Malave surrendered only 14 points and delivered 23 winners to three for Esposito-Kelley.
Andrew Young was a 6-0, 6-1 winner over Dillon Esposito-Kelley at third singles.
Hassildine and Molchan kept spectators’ interest with their tight match against James Bast and Andrew Hillsberg.
In the first set, Hassildine and Molchan built leads of 3-1 and 5-2, only to see Bast and Hillsberg draw even at six games apiece as the match ebb and flowed, seemingly with the gusts on this windy afternoon. The second set was similarly a back-and-forth affair, with the Sayville players taking leads of 4-3 and 5-4 before the Tuckers surged ahead, 6-5. In the second-set tiebreaker, the Tuckers blew a 3-1 lead before recovering to put an end to the match after 1 hour 37 minutes.
Hassildine and Molchan committed more unforced errors than their opponents, 26-13, but also enjoyed more than twice as many winners, 46-20.
The points total reflected how close the doubles match was, with the two Tuckers holding an 82-75 edge.
The other two doubles matches went Sayville’s way. Lucas Brennan and Nick Medile downed Lucas Kosmynka and Tucker Johansson. The Sayville pair dropped the first set, 7-5, and won the second, 6-2. A tiebreaker was played in lieu of a third set, and the score was 7-3. In the other contest, Rob Kacinski and Kevin Peterson handled Austin Gao and Matt Wells, 6-0, 6-3.
The Tuckers, who shared the League VII championship with The Ross School, advance to a quarterfinal against the defending county champion, No. 2 Half Hollow Hills East (13-2), on Thursday.
Sayville, a League III team, finished the season with an 8-8 record.