A quest for a return trip to the New York state tennis tournament came up short for the East Hampton doubles team of seniors Danni Dunphy and Gillian Neubert last week.
Neubert and Dunphy, seeded first in the Division IV tournament, failed to defend the division title they won last year, losing, 6-3, 7-5, to Kelci Henn and Lisa Lin of William Floyd at Floyd High School on October 15.
But by finishing in the top four of the division, the Lady Bonackers earned All-County status and also a spot in the Suffolk County Individual Tournament, which took place at Smithtown East High School over the weekend.
In the county tournament, Neubert and Dunphy were seeded fourth, and they won their first-round match, beating the Connetquot doubles team, 6-1, 6-2. In the quarterfinals, the Lady Bonackers faced the doubles team of Ali Huber and Vanessa Scott from Half Hollow Hills West. Neubert and Dunphy won the first set, 7-5, but then lost, 6-2, 6-3, in the next two sets, ending their hopes of advancing to states. Only the top three doubles teams and top three singles players go to states, while the fourth-place finishers are alternates.
“The girls were disappointed, but Hills West was a very good team and played well,” East Hampton head coach Michelle Kennedy said. “Overall, the girls had a great regular season, only falling short to Floyd’s first doubles team [of Henn and Lin]. It is quite an accomplishment to make it to the quarterfinals of the Suffolk County doubles tournament, and I am very proud of them for making it this far as a doubles team.”
The loss in counties ended their hopes of going to states, but it did not end their careers entirely. East Hampton earned the fourth seed in the Suffolk County team tournament and was scheduled to begin play by hosting No. 20 Smithtown West on Tuesday, October 22. Results will be in next week’s edition of The Press.
Southampton singles player Noa Dubin, a junior, earned All-County status and a return trip to the county individual tournament earlier last week by advancing to the Division IV semifinals.
On October 15, she beat Floyd’s Emily Fernandez, 6-2, 6-3, in the consolation final to take third in the division. Shoreham/Wading River senior Aimee Manfredo beat Eastport South Manor eighth-grader Jackie Bukzin, 6-1, 6-1, to defend her division title in a rematch of last year’s final.
At the county tournament on Saturday, Dubin lost, 6-2, 6-1, to fifth seed Stephanie Chikasazilla of Half Hollow Hills East in the first round. Chikasazilla, a freshman, and her sister, sophomore Esther Chikasazilla, faced each other in the Division I championship and as of Monday, there was a good chance that they’d face each other again in the county final. The sisters, originally from Russia, play in USTA tournaments but joined their high school teams for the first time this year. They advanced to the county semifinals along with Manfredo and Bukzin.
Southampton head coach Richard “Juni” Wingfield said the sisters were impressive players. “They’re two of the strongest players I’ve ever seen in high school tennis in New York State,” he said. “I’ve never seen two girls hit the ball that hard.”
Southampton’s season is officially over, as it did not qualify for the county team tournament.
For the first time in more than 10 years, Westhampton Beach did not send any representatives to the county tournament, but the squad did earn a spot in the team tournament.
The Lady Hurricanes faced League VII rival Eastport South Manor in an outbracket game on October 17 and got a 5-2 win. It was the first time Westhampton Beach beat the Lady Sharks in three attempts this year. Jane Podlaski beat Victoria Chan, 6-0, 6-1, at second singles, and Sabrina Salvi beat Emily Cereola, 7-5, 7-6, at fourth singles.
The Hurricanes swept the doubles matches, with Jodie Sipala and Jessica Proust beating Cassie Rivera and Sarah Jurgielewicz, 6-4, 6-2, at first; Gen Spanarkel and Heather Marcella beating Vanessa Amendola and Nicole Horn, 6-3, 6-4, at second; and Yesha Dalal and Mira Patel beating Julia Cutler and Taylor Bourguignon, 7-5, 6-2, at third.
The following day, the Lady Hurricanes, seeded 17th, traveled to face 16th seed Islip and won, 4-3. At first singles, Laura Halsey beat Ashley Mannetta, 6-0, 6-1; at second singles, Podlaski beat Stephanie Maio, 6-1, 6-2; and at third, Sarah Strebel beat Angela Mercurio, 6-0, 6-2. Westhampton Beach also won at first doubles, with Sipala and Proust beating Faith Haedrich and Caroline Darcy, 7-6, 6-0.
Westhampton Beach was scheduled to take on top seed Half Hollow Hills East on Tuesday, October 22.