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Boys Tennis Preview: There’s no place like home for Clippers

Well, you can go home again after all.

At least that’s true for the Southold/Greenport high school boys tennis team, which will play all six of its home matches this season on the four courts at Southold High School. The Clippers will do so for the first time in 15 or 16 years, according to coach Andrew Sadowski.

The Clippers had been playing virtually all of their home matches in Peconic, with individual matches being contested simultaneously on the courts at Jean W. Cochran Park and Robert W. Tasker Park, which are located across a street from each other. The inconvenience of not being able to watch all the matches at the same location, and a desire to boost spectator attendance, were cited as reasons for the move.

Last season the Clippers (10-2) played a few matches on the school courts. Maybe there was something to it because they went on to win their first league championship in 16 years and reach the playoffs for the first time in that period. It was the third league title for Southold, adding to ones it picked up in 1993 and 2000.

Asked for his thoughts on the season, Sadowski said: “Fantastic. When you think of something that hasn’t been achieved in such a long time, it’s a great achievement.”

He added: “I was obviously very pleased for the boys that they worked so hard. Reflecting back on the season, they challenged each other in matches. And it wasn’t just in challenge matches. Everything they did on the court was a challenge to each other to get better.”

The defending Suffolk County League VIII champions will have twins Xavier and Jacob Kahn playing the top two singles positions. “They’ve gotten taller, stronger,” Sadowski said of the sophomores. “They have no interest in ever losing a point.”

Freshman Cole Brigham, sophomore Devin Quinones and junior Mario Contreras are competing for the third and fourth singles slots. Alex Kandora, a junior, will probably play first doubles, although positions are still up in the air.

The team has three newcomers in seniors Mark Moran and Charlie Bonilla and junior Matthew Civiok.

Sadowski said, “I’m hoping we’re going to continue to be competitive.”

Things are different this year for Mattituck (9-6). They have to be.

The Tuckers no longer have all-county players Garrett Malave and Parker Tuthill, a pair of six-year varsity players who held the top two positions in the team’s singles lineup for the past five years. Malave is now playing for Salisbury University in Maryland and Tuthill is playing for Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

In their absence, Mattituck has been relegated from League VII to League VIII.

That is a good thing, said coach Mike Huey. “It looks like we’ll be competitive in League VIII and we’ll be one of the teams to beat,” he said.

Mattituck does have seniors Chris Waggoner and Ty Bugdin, who were both all-division players, not to mention a pair of all-league players in junior Tucker Johannson and sophomore Lucas Kosmynka.

Waggoner and Bugdin, who reached the Suffolk Division IV semifinals in doubles last year, may play first and second singles, respectively.

Huey said Waggoner “can mix it up a little bit. He can be aggressive when he wants to and he can be consistent, too. He’s got a good all-around game.”

As for Bugdin, Huey said: “He’s got a good power game and he likes to come forward and take the ball in the air. He’s very aggressive.”

Johannson and Kosmynka are expected to split time between singles and doubles.

Also vying for positions are seniors Mike Goodale, Eshi Baldano and Dylan Wilsberg, juniors Sam Fish and Jack Kitz and sophomore Joey Sciotta.

“There’s a lot of parity on this team,” Huey said. “I’d say one through six, anybody can beat anybody, so we’re going to have a strong  lineup. We’re going to have consistency throughout.”

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Photo caption: Xavier Kahn is one of the top singles players for defending League VIII champion Southold/Greenport. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)