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Girls Tennis Preview: It’s finally arrived — Dwyer’s senior year

But the word “senior” in front of Liz Dwyer’s name and it makes one pause, stop and think. Senior Liz Dwyer? Could this really be Dwyer’s senior year?

If it feels as if Dwyer has been around the Mattituck High School girls tennis team forever, there’s a good reason for that: This is her sixth year on the team. It may have seemed as if she would be with the Tuckers forever, but this is her final go-around.

“I’m going to cherish the time with her because she’s got a great personality,” coach Mike Huey said. “She’s funny. She takes things in stride.”

And she knows how to win tennis matches.

An all-county player who reached the second round of the Suffolk County individual tournament last year, Dwyer appears primed for the new season.

“She’s looking awesome,” Huey said. “She’s got good power. Her footwork is incredible. She’s got some good competition, though.”

As does Mattituck (6-7 last year), which made the playoffs for the fifth straight year, beating Patchogue-Medford in the first round of the county team tournament.

Mattituck’s top three singles players — Dwyer, Emily Mowdy (who is also in her sixth year) and Drew Hahn — are all seniors. Freshman Julie Kosmynka will probably fill the fourth-singles slot.

Meanwhile, seniors Joy Davis and Alex Talbot are slotted in at first doubles. As of Tuesday, the second-doubles pairing was junior Ashley Perkins and sophomore Jessica Scheer, with senior Larysa Andreadis and junior Mia Slovak at third doubles. But Huey said he may mix around the players in those two doubles teams.

Four other seniors — Alley Peters, Jen Rutkowski, Rebecca Foster and Alissa Dabrowski — are also available along with junior Annie Finnegan.

Huey believes he has the tools to put out a competitive lineup.

“We should be pretty strong from top to bottom, but then so again is everybody else in our league,” he said. “League VII is probably one of the toughest leagues in the county.”

This has been the summer of tennis for Mike Carver. The Southold/Greenport coach said he spent the summer playing tennis with his wife, Jeanne, his son, Christopher, and his daughter, Meghan, a sophomore on the Riverhead team. “That’s been my whole summer — tennis,” he said.

And now it will take up a huge chunk of his fall.

Carver enters his second season as the team’s coach, still looking for his first win. Southold went 0-12 last year, but the number that really concerned Carver was seven. That was the number of players (all starters) he lost to graduation earlier this year.

“I was worried about what kind of numbers I was going to have,” he said. “I was worried about losing those kind of numbers and trying to build the program up.”

As it turned out, 20 players came out for the varsity and junior varsity teams, bringing Carver a source of relief. “The girls seem all committed and they have a good mindset,” he said.

The team’s three returning lineup players represent all the varsity experience on the squad. Sophomore Liz Garcia played third doubles. Juniors Casie Vaccariello and Ally Boyle both played fourth singles and doubles.

As of last Thursday, the top spot on the team ladder belonged to eighth-grader Natalie Kopala, who is in her first year of school tennis. Vaccariello or freshman Reese Thompson are expected to play second or third singles. Another freshman, Kaia Rothman, could be a third or fourth singles player.

The doubles candidates are the team’s only senior, Alexandra Apadula, sophomore Ella Neese, sophomore Julia Mejsak and freshman Danielle Henry. They all played either JV or junior high tennis last year.

“The girls are young, but they have some talent, which is nice,” Carver said. “It’s nice knowing we have such a young team. We can build on it now.”

Unlike recent years when they played their home matches at public courts in Peconic, the First Settlers will play all their home matches at Southold High School.

That first win Carver is waiting for could come this season. Despite going winless in 2016, he said it was “a very rewarding season. Having kids thanking you for believing in them, that’s really what it’s all about.”

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Photo caption: Liz Dwyer, Mattituck’s all-county first singles player, is entering her sixth year playing for the Tuckers. (Credit: Garret Meade)