For the second straight year, Westhampton Beach junior Cooper Lacetera has earned All-State distinction in boys tennis, advancing to the semifinals of the Suffolk County Individual tennis tournament at Smithtown East High School on Monday afternoon.
Lacetera, who won the Division IV singles title last week, was All-State last year in doubles with teammate J.D. Sipala, who has since graduated. This season, Lacetera decided to throw his hat into the ring in singles, and it has paid off.
Lacetera, seeded second in the draw, was scheduled to return to Smithtown East on Tuesday, May 14, to take on third seed Zain Ali of Half Hollow Hills East, whom he beat during the regular season. The winner was slated to face the winner in the other semifinal match, which pitted first seed Tyler Hoffman of Sayville against fourth seed Brandon Stone of Walt Whitman. The losers will play in the consolation final.
The top three finishers in the county will earn a trip to the state tournament, although all four have earned All-State distinction. The fourth-place finisher is an alternate for states.
Results from the semifinals and finals will be posted on 27east.com and published in next week’s edition.
Lacetera started the tournament—which was originally slated for Saturday, but was moved because of bad weather—with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Matt Baruch of Ward Melville, before beating Mike DeNigris of Islip, 6-4, 6-2, in the second round.
Lacetera’s teammate, Kevin Cino, also a junior, competed in the county tournament as well, after finishing second to Lacetera in the division tournament. Cino won his first match in a bit of an upset, getting past eighth-seed Chris Wang of Sachem East, 6-2, 6-1. Cino lost to top seed Hoffman, 6-2, 6-3, in the second round.
Westhampton Beach head coach John Czartosieski said Cino exceeded his expectations this year, and he’s excited for what Cino can accomplish next season.
“His best win was against [second seed] Chris Kuhnle of Shoreham in the division tournament,” Czartosieski said, referring to the fact that Cino beat Kuhnle handily in the division tournament just a week after losing to him in regular season play. “Kevin played progressively stronger as the season started winding down, and he started peaking at the right time.”
Westhampton Beach also sent two doubles team to the courts at Smithtown East on Monday. Brian Schwartz and Zach Ellenhorn, who were seeded sixth after winning the division title last week, won their first round match, beating Adam Gross and Peter Hoffman of Bayport/Blue Point, 6-1, 6-4, but they were eliminated in the second round with a 6-0, 6-4 loss to Travis Leaf and Ross Reiffman of Hills East, the third seeds. Nisarg Dabhi and Matt Kantor, who finished second to Schwartz and Ellenhorn at the division tournament, lost to the fourth-seeded team from Hills East, 6-1, 6-0, in the first round.
Czartosieski said it was a long day on Monday, particularly for his doubles players, who had to wait until after 4:30 in the afternoon to play because several players were delayed in getting to the tournament because of AP exams.
While the individual postseason runs came to an end for everyone on the Hurricanes squad except for Lacetera on Monday, the team still had the Suffolk County team tournament to look forward to. Westhampton Beach earned the seventh seed and a first-round bye and was scheduled to take on the winner of the No. 23 Huntington at No. 10 East Hampton match on Thursday, May 16. East Hampton was scheduled to host Huntington on Wednesday, May 15.
Eastport South Manor earned the 19th seed in the tournament and was scheduled to play at Bay Shore on May 15, while Ross earned the sixth seed and also earned a first-round bye, and was scheduled to host the winner of No. 11 William Floyd and No. 22 Miller Place on May 16.