The Westhampton Beach boys tennis team’s schedule features 10 games against League VII opponents, but its four matches against non-league foes are what the Hurricanes use for a true measure of success, and how they fare in those contests is crucial in determining postseason seeding.
Westhampton Beach got off to a great start by winning its first pair of non-league matches against Commack and East Islip, two teams that, along with the Hurricanes, are contenders for a county title. But the Canes’ luck ran out on April 15 when they traveled to face Half Hollow Hills East and suffered a 7-0 defeat.
“We ran into a brick wall,” Westhampton Beach head coach John Czartosieski said. “They were just very good in every position. We had a couple of three-setters, but beyond that, we really couldn’t get much going. They’re definitely the team to beat.”
At first singles, Richard Sipala lost 6-1, 6-3 to Andrew Won. At second singles, Tyler Schulz lost in a competitive match to Brett Byron, winning the first set 7-6 (7-3) before dropping the next two sets 6-1, 6-2. At third singles, Christian Thienel lost 6-1, 6-0 to Andrew Feiner and at fourth singles, Steven Palmer was downed 7-6 (11-9), 6-3 by Steve Ferrantello.
At first doubles, Dylan Jurow and Kenny Ballato lost the first set to Matt Schuss and Scott Elgort 6-1, won the second set 7-6 (7-5) and lost the decisive set 6-2. At second doubles, Greg Kandell and Brian Lehrer lost 6-3, 6-3 to Dan Schiraldi and Justin Teplitz and at third doubles, Eric Antunovich and Mike Hammond lost to Dan Evans and Christian Bormann, winning the first set 6-3 before losing the next two sets by the same score.
Westhampton Beach rebounded with a pair of dominant victories against League VII opponents Rocky Point at home on Thursday and at Longwood the following day to improve to 6-0, 8-1 overall. The Hurricanes enjoyed straight-sets victories in each individual match against both teams.
Czartosieski said he was impressed with his team’s win against Rocky Point in particular.
“We beat them by a greater margin than we did when we played them the first time,” he said. “The boys showed improvement in that sense, but obviously we have a long way to go.”
The same top three singles players from the Hills East lineup won their matches against both Rocky Point and Longwood while Lehrer picked up the win at fourth singles against Rocky Point and Alex Rutherfurd was the winner at fourth singles against Longwood. The doubles lineup fluctuated, with Antunovich and Kandell teaming up for a first doubles win against Rocky Point, Jurow and Ballato getting the win at second doubles and Rutherfurd and Derek Araujo getting the victory at third doubles.
Against Longwood, Jurow and Kandell won at first doubles, Ballato and Lehrer won at second doubles and Christian LaDu and Hammond won at third doubles.
Westhampton Beach will have one more chance to test its mettle against a tough team when it hosts Half Hollow Hills West at home on May 2. The match could have big playoff implications; if the Canes win, they’ll most likely receive the second seed in the county tournament, which would put them on the opposite side of the bracket as Hills East, meaning they would not have to face that team until the county final.
Czartosieski said that despite his team’s shutout loss to Hills East, he remains confident in his team’s chances to beat Hills West.
“We’re really gearing up for that match,” he said. “I still like our chances at beating one of those Hills teams.”