Tennis: Doubles win highlights outmatched Settlers

Marvin Alvarado and Evan Czartosieski were living on the edge after dropping the first of a best-of-three sets, Southold High School’s second seeded doubles tennis team faced a must-win situation.

“It’s definitely motivation,” Czartosieski said. “You have to win this set to have a chance. And if you don’t, then you don’t have a chance.”

The duo bounced back in fine fashion, capturing the second tennis set and then securing the tie-breaker to defeat their Center Moriches opponents.

“Unfortunately, that has been their go-to strategy,” Southold coach Andrew Sadowski said of the slow starts. “If they could just turn it around a little bit. They work hard.”

The duo worked hard enough to register the lone bright spot for the Settlers, who suffered a 6-1 Suffolk County League IV loss at Center Moriches on a breezy, sunny Tuesday afternoon. Southold dropped to 1-5, 0-3, while the Red Devils improved to 4-1, 2-0.

Robert O’Rourk photos

Alvarado, a senior, and Czartosieski, a sophomore, rallied to defeat Daniel Capone and Sean Mardjani. They lost the opening set, 6-3, but recorded a 6-3 victory in the second and won the tie-breaker, 11-9.

“We started off like a little wonky,” Alvarado said. “But during the match, we got better. We started focusing more. And communicating better as well.”

Czartosieski took the opening set loss to heart.

“The first set I didn’t really play as well as I wanted,” he said. “I was frustrated. The second set, we were just thinking about where to hit the ball, how to hit the ball, not just smashing it every time.” 

It was an encouraging win for Czartosieski and Alvarado, who have improved to 3-0 since being paired in tennis doubles.

In contrast, the Settlers’ first doubles team started on a high note as seniors Evan Maskiell and Skyler Valderrama won their opening set, 6-3, against Stephen Buff and Owen Maragioglio.

“Something just turned on,” Valderrama said. “I was hitting some crazy net shots and was consistently hitting the corner in the alley. And we were talking to each other the entire time.”

Ah, communication again.

“Me and Skyler were really connecting on our shots,” Maskiell said. “We were playing with confidence. We had momentum.”

But that momentum didn’t last as they dropped the second set, 6-2, and then the tie-breaker, 10-7.

“We lost focus,” Maskiell said. “We got too ahead of ourselves. We did good in the first set, but we lost a little bit of communication, and our shots weren’t hitting.”

After starting the tennis season at singles, Maskiell and Valderrama asked Sadowski if they could partner together in the upcoming county tournament. Valderrama said his goal was “to make it deep” into that competition.

“There’s a couple of things that they need to get to work on and get used to movement on the court,” Sadowski said. “But I think that will come. Usually by this point, when they’re playing against other number one doubles teams, they’re pretty well established. They just need to adjust and get ready by then.”

Maskiell realized that, as one of the county’s smaller schools, Southold faces an uphill battle in many matches. The Settlers’ lone win was a 5-2 victory over Babylon on March 26.

“We’re playing a lot bigger schools than us. East Hampton’s good,” he said. “They play all year round. Our team just plays in the spring. It’s hard to play against bigger schools but we do what we can. We just have fun.”

In the first seed singles, Southold’s Kal-el Marine lost to Joe Murray, 6-0, 6-2. Second-seeded Jake Baxendale was downed by Troy Goetz, 6-0, 6-3, and third-seeded Johnny Chen was defeated by Ryan Standard, 6-1, 6-0.

In the other two doubles matches, third seeds Brian Schill and Josh Uguna lost to Nate Davis and Dylan Andersen, and Thomas Sklodowski and Jamie Choy were beaten by Alex Babzien and Derek Mare, 6-1, 6-3, in a battle of fourth seeds.

Sadowski said that it was the best Center Moriches team he had seen in a while.

“I’m very impressed with the way they are consistently good throughout the team,” he said. “They had some very good matches.”