The Ross School’s boys tennis team, which has only one senior, Felipe Reis, its number-one, is set, nevertheless, to challenge Westhampton Beach for the league championship. Ross and Westhampton are to play their first match tomorrow.
While the coach, Vinicius Carmo, expects the Cosmos to make the playoffs, he’s not sure how deep this year’s team, which includes two seventh graders who play singles and three freshmen, will go. Ross was the county runner-up to Half Hollow Hills East the past two years.
Reis, a native of Brazil who, with Henry Lee, won the county championship last spring and then made it to the quarterfinal round of the state tourney, said that he thought the Cosmos would do well this season, though he, too, was not making any overly optimistic predictions.
The Cosmos easily handled East Hampton in the private school’s bubble on Friday by a score of 6-1. It was the league opener for Ross, and the second league match for East Hampton, which had bested Eastport-South Manor 5-2 a few days before.
Bonac’s sole win came at second singles as Dan Okin, a freshman, prevailed in three sets over his brother, Ben, a Ross junior who went to East Hampton last year.
While it lost, East Hampton ought to be competitive. During a recent conversation, Michelle Kennedy, who coaches Bonac’s boys and girls, as well, said “we’re deep — we’ve got 10 kids, including three sophomores from Pierson, competing for third doubles.”
At number-one East Hampton has in Marco Silimbergo, whom Carmo also coaches at times, a former highly-ranked junior from Florida who is, after a two-year hiatus, getting back into the swing of things.
“We like him a lot,” Carmo said of the transfer student. “I want to help him get back into U.S.T.A. tournament shape.”
A sophomore, Silimbergo grew up in Miami, later moving to Sarasota. When he gave up playing, “because of an unsettled family situation,” he said, he was among Florida’s top-ranked 12-and-under players. “I love tennis, though,” he said following his 6-2, 6-0 loss to Reis. “I know I have some work to do, but I’m positive I’ll get back to where I was.”
Concerning his match against West Islip’s number-one in East Hampton’s recent season-opener, a match that East Hampton won 4-3, Silimbergo said, with equanimity, “I lost . . . it was close — a good match. I know why I lost. Sometimes I think I’m in my good days when the fact is I’m not yet and I get frustrated.”
Dan Okin prevailed 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a tense battle on Friday with his older brother, Ben. At third singles, one of Ross’s seventh graders, Jonas Linnman-Feurring, defeated Collin Kavanaugh, a junior, 6-1, 6-2, and at fourth, his fellow seventh grader, Mikey Petersen, and longtime rival in tournament play, defeated Julian MacGurn, an eighth grader, 6-1, 7-5.
In doubles, Ross’s first team of Jack Brinkley-Cook and Louis Caiola, both juniors, defeated East Hampton’s Dan Ruggiero, a senior, and Andrew Davis, a junior, 6-1, 6-1. At second doubles, the Cosmos’ Harrison Rowen, a freshman, and Pedro Zagury, a junior from Brazil, defeated Peter Davis, a junior, and Nicky Neubert, a freshman, 7-6, 6-1, and at third doubles Jordan Schwimmer and Will Greenberg, both Ross freshmen, defeated Alex Cohen, a sophomore, and Andrew Dixon 6-3, 6-4.
East Hampton’s captains are Ruggiero, Kavanaugh, and Juan Agudelo.
Section XI has ruled that the Ross Tennis Academy students — there are seven boys and one girl at the moment — cannot play in high school matches. They looked on Friday from the stone terrace that borders the first court, and one of them, Trippie Tuff, a freshman who played on Ross’s county finalist teams the past two years, said that he missed it.
“Section XI said that we recruit, which isn’t true,” said Carmo. “I think the ruling’s very unfair. We’re a private school and kids come here because they like the school. Besides our tennis academy we have math and science academies too. I’m going back to Section XI, though not this season. I want to understand why they won’t let these kids play. I feel for them. They’re all watching over there, dying to play.”
As for the tennis academy, which is in its first year, Carmo, who is among four pros who coach these students daily, said, “Next year I think we’ll have 14 . . . the word is getting around. People see our kids playing in tournaments and they’re impressed. I think this year a lot of people were waiting to see what would happen. Trippie’s the most improved — he’s doing very well in the 14s. And James [Ignatowich, an 11-year-old sixth grader] just won a U.S.T.A. sectional tournament and is going to play in the nationals.”
A number of the above-mentioned played over the weekend in a U.S.T.A. Level 1B tournament at Ross overseen by Peggy Stankevich.
In the boys 16s, Spilimbergo defeated Ben Okin 6-0, 2-6, 10-4 in the first round, and defeated Rowen 6-1, 6-3 in the second before losing to the top seed, Ross’s Fernando Fernandes — an academy player — 6-1, 6-1 in the semis. Tuff, who had wins over the second seed, Michael Lesser, Zagury, and Ignatowich (who was playing up) in the first three rounds, lost 6-4, 6-0 to Fernandes in the final.
Linnman-Feurring and Petersen met in the boys 12s final, with the former prevailing 6-4, 6-2. Ben Snow, a Pierson seventh-grader, defeated Lucas Larese, an academy student, 6-1, 6-0 in the boys 14s final.
Caiola made the final round of the boys 18s where he lost to Roger Young 7-6, 6-2.
Allison Huber won the girls 16s, defeating Julia Zbarsky 6-0, 6-2 in the final. The girls 14s winner was Courtney Kowalsky, who defeated Brynn April 6-1, 6-1, and the girls 12s winner was Rory Gallaher, who defeated Ava Ignatowich 4-6, 7-5, 10-7.