For the third straight year, Westhampton Beach’s Cooper Lacetera is in elite tennis company.
The Westhampton Beach senior advanced to the semifinals of the Suffolk County Individual Tournament last week, earning All-State status after beating Aziz Rashidzada of Half Hollow Hills West in the quarterfinals at William Floyd High School on Saturday. Lacetera, seeded third, was set to take on second-seed Kyle Alper of Half Hollow Hills East on Tuesday, May 13. Results will be in next week’s edition and online at 27east.com. While all the semifinalists earn All-State status, only the top three finishers earn a trip to the state tournament, which will take place at the National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, May 29 to 31. A win over Alper will secure a spot at states for Lacetera, while a loss would mean he’d have to beat the other semifinal loser in the match for third place in order to go to states.
Lacetera was the Division IV singles champion for the second year in a row this season, and he was an All-State doubles player with J.D. Sipala as a sophomore two years ago. Both times, he finished fourth and was an alternate for the state tournament.
Before beating Rashidzada, Lacetera breezed to a 6-3, 6-0 win over Deer Park’s Franin Hazir in the first round.
The Westhampton Beach doubles team of Zach Ellenhorn and Brian Schwartz, who were the Division IV doubles champs, also competed in counties, but fell short of All-State status. They started the tournament with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Chris Wang and Timmy Chiu of Sachem East before losing to third seeds Grant Rosenberg and Roger Cheng from Hills East, 6-4, 6-1, in the second round. Schwartz and Ellenhorn were up 4-1 in the first set against the Hills East duo, but Rosenberg and Chang mounted a comeback, winning the next five games to take control.
“They just picked up their game,” Westhampton Beach John Czartosieski said of Hills East. “Rosenberg was a very strong net player. When he ran across the front of the net and poached, he never missed. It was tough to get the ball past him.”
While the runs in the individual postseason ended for all Westhampton Beach players but Lacetera, he and the rest of the team still had their sights on the county team tournament, which was slated to begin on Wednesday, May 14. Westhampton Beach was seeded sixth in the 24-team bracket, and earned a first-round bye. It will begin the tournament at home on Thursday, May 15, against the winner of no. 11 Mattituck and no. 22 Longwood.
The Southampton doubles team of Elliot LaGuardia and Alex Grun saw an impressive postseason run come to an end on Saturday at the county individual tournament. After upsetting the third-seeded team of Matt Hoffman and Tyler Grosse of Bayport, 3-6, 7-6, 6-1, in the first round, the Mariners were downed 6-0, 6-0 by second seeds Travis Leaf and Ross Reiffman of Hills East in the second round. Grun and LaGuardia finished third in the Division IV tournament to earn their spot at counties.
Southampton head coach Richard “Juni” Wingfield was proud of the late-season surge the senior duo made in the postseason.
“I told them, when you get to counties, you’re in a winner’s tournament,” Wingfield said. “No one is weak; everyone is here because they won, and every match you play, it gets tougher and tougher. It was a great run for them. It wasn’t so much about tennis as it was just watching them handle those things that are a metaphor for life.”
Grun and LaGuardia’s run marked the end of the boys tennis season for Southampton, as the Mariners did not qualify for the team tournament.
East Hampton’s top singles player, Julian MacGurn, was the lone representative for his team at the county tournament on Saturday, and his stay in the draw was short-lived as he lost 6-3, 6-2 to third-seed Kyle Alper of Hills East in the first round. Although he lost, East Hampton head coach Michelle Kennedy said she was pleased to see MacGurn push Alper and take five sets from him in a hard-fought match.
The season ended for the Bonackers at the tournament, as the team did not qualify for the county team tournament.