The Ross School’s boys tennis team handed Westhampton Beach a 4-3 loss in the private school’s bubble Friday, thanks in the end to a clutch performance by one of Ross’s seventh graders, Jonas Linnman-Feurring, who played third singles.
Newsday had touted the Hurricanes as the team to beat in League VII in its Sunday edition, noting that Ross had lost six players from last year’s county-finalist team.
Felipe Reis, who plays number-one for the Cosmos, having moved up from four last year, said the win “was huge, though we still have to beat them over there.”
Going into Monday’s match at Southampton, a match that Ross’s coach, Vinicius Carmo, thought would be very close, Ross led the league with a 3-0 record. Southampton, which has Jeremy Dubin, the division singles champion and a county finalist last year, at number one, was 3-1, as was Westhampton. East Hampton, which is eyeing a winning season as well, was 2-2 in league play, followed by William Floyd (1-2), Eastport-South Manor (1-3), and Shoreham-Wading River (0-4).
East Hampton’s losses have come at the hands of Ross, by a score of 6-1, and Southampton, by a score of 4-3. The Bonackers defeated Shoreham 4-3 Friday as Dan Okin and Collin Kavanaugh won at second and third singles, and as the first and second doubles teams of Matthew Silich and Reese Donaldson and Nicky Neubert and Julian MacGurn won in straight sets.
Marco Silimbergo lost to Shoreham’s Chris Kuhnle 6-2, 6-4; Milton Farez, at four, lost to Peter Deleon 3-6, 6-0, 6-2, and East Hampton’s third doubles team of Juan Agudelo and Andrew Dixon lost 6-1, 6-3.
Michelle Kennedy, East Hampton’s coach, was missing the Davis brothers, Andrew and Peter, that day. Against Ross, Andrew played first doubles with Dan Ruggiero, and Peter played second doubles with Neubert. Presumably the margin would have been greater with them there.
In the Ross-Westhampton match, Reis defeated Cooper Lacetera 7-6 (7-4), 6-2; Ben Okin lost to Westhampton’s Beecher Halsey 6-1, 6-3; Linnman-Feurring defeated Brian Schwartz 6-1, 1-6, 6-3; Mikey Petersen, another seventh grader, defeated Elan Assayag 6-1, 6-2; Ross’s first doubles team of Harrison Rowen and Pedro Zagury lost to J.D. Sipala and Reid Paoletta 6-0, 6-2; the second team of Jack Brinkley-Cook and Louis Caiola defeated Michael Polan and Tim Liguori 6-0, 6-0, and the Cosmos’ third team of Will Greenberg and Jordan Schwimmer lost to Sheel Pate and Matt Kantor 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.
“It all came down to Jonas,” Carmo said during a conversation Monday morning. “He was still on when third doubles lost its third set. There’s a 10-minute break, you know, between the second and third sets, and during it he said, ‘I can’t beat him.’ I told him he had to believe in himself. He’s very good at picking out opponents’ weaknesses. He lost the first game of the third set, but he kept fighting and won two games quickly, and that got him believing in himself again and he rose to the occasion!”
Carmo said the match had gone pretty much the way he’d thought it would, there being no surprises. “Mikey had a solid win, which was good because he didn’t play well at Shoreham two days before. He lost 7-5, 7-5 there.”
Ross’s coach said he could see Sipala and Paoletta winning the division tournament’s doubles crown.
Concerning Ross’s graduation losses, Carmo said Richard Sipala was now playing at Bryant, that Henry Lee was playing at Bates, and that Spencer Kuzon was at Colgate and Cole Katzter was at the State University of New York at Binghamton, though neither Kuzon nor Katzter was playing tennis, he said.
Moreover, Ian Combemale, last year’s number-three, behind Sipala and Lee, was “in Florida now, with his own pro, Trippie [Tuff, who as a seventh and eighth grader played for Ross’s league-champion and county finalist teams] is in our tennis academy [and thus not allowed by Section XI to play in team matches], and Cole Grant, an eighth grader, who was in our academy for part of the year, fractured his knee while skiing.”
Carmo is still chafing over the fact that Section XI won’t allow academy students to play for the team. “The Cold Spring Harbor coach told me he thought they should. . . . It’s not as if these kids at Cold Spring Harbor and Half Hollow Hills East [which bageled Ross recently in a nonleaguer] aren’t putting in extra hours on the courts. It’s just that they’re playing outside the school, while our kids are playing here at the school.”
“If this bubble were across the street, then it would be different, I guess,” he said with a laugh.
“Even with our academy kids, we still wouldn’t be able to beat Cold Spring Harbor or Hills East,” he added.
Asked what his lineup would look like should the academy students be allowed to play on the team, he said, “Felipe would still be number one, Fernando [Fernandes] would be two, Trippie would be three, and James [Ignatowich, a sixth grader] would be four. . . . A team with four good players is all you need to win a match, you know. Southampton has four good players. That’s why I think it will be close.”