A hearing called at the behest of the Ross School’s boys tennis coach, Vinicius Carmo, who alleged that his Westhampton Beach counterpart had unfairly juggled his lineup in a match with the Cosmos, was held at Section XI’s offices in Smithtown Tuesday morning.
Later in the afternoon, Carmo reported that the governing body for Suffolk high school sports had ruled in Ross’s favor.
Thus, the Cosmos, who were expected to finish the regular season with an 11-1 record — they were to have played their final match at 2-8 Eastport-South Manor yesterday — were declared the League VII champions. It was the third year in a row that Ross has won the league championship.
Going into the hearing, Westhampton Beach had an 11-1 record as well, but because of Tuesday’s ruling it dropped to 10-2. “Even if we lose the match with Eastport-South Manor and finish with two losses, we’ll still win,” said Carmo, “because we will have had two wins over Westhampton.”
Ross had defeated Westhampton 4-3 in a match played at the private school’s bubble on March 30.
Carmo said this week that he had questioned the Westhampton coach John Czartosieski’s lineup before the April 28 match began, a match that Carmo had said would decide the league championship.
“He had Sheel Patel, who has played fourth singles and third doubles for him, at first doubles with J.D. Sipala. His second-best player, Reid Paoletta, was matched at second doubles with Brian Schwartz. That would have been okay with me if they’d played a challenge match to see which team was best, but he [Czartosieski] said they hadn’t played a challenge match. Both A.D.s were there and heard what he said.”
“At first, I didn’t want to play the match — I told him he was breaking the rules,” Carmo continued, “but Jaye [Cohen, Ross’s athletic director] called Section XI and was told that we should play it and file a protest afterward.”
The April 28 contest came down to third doubles, which matched Westhampton’s Michael Polan and Elan Assayag against Ross’s Jordan Schwimmer, a ninth grader, and Mikey Peterson, a seventh grader. Schwimmer and Peterson won the first set 6-0, lost the second 6-3, and the all-important third, as well, 7-5.
“I thought Mike and Jordan would win — they were happy and confident,” Carmo said, with a smile. “They didn’t look scared. On the deciding point at 5-all, we had a forehand volley that hit the tape, rolled, and bounced back onto our side of the court. We were up 40-15 in the next game, but they came back to tie it and on the deuce point again — there’s no-add scoring in high school matches — we hit another volley, a backhand volley this time, that went just over the baseline. . . .”
Ross went on to win matches with Southampton (5-2) and William Floyd (4-3), and was to have finished the regular season yesterday at Eastport-South Manor.
Carmo himself was accused three years ago — his first in coaching — of unfairly juggling his lineup by the former East Hampton High School boys varsity coach, Claude Beudert. He said then that the doubles players he had at the time were interchangeable and that Beudert’s charges were “absurd.”
East Hampton’s athletic director, Joe Vas, filed a complaint with Section XI, but apparently nothing came of it. In predicting that it would come to naught, Vas said at the time, “I don’t think there’s been enough history with this coach [Carmo] to make a real determination from the Section’s standpoint.”
Nowadays, Carmo takes with him to team matches a list of his latest challenge match results lest there be any doubt as to the integrity of his lineups. “We play challenge matches all the time — they’re good for the kids,” he said. Meanwhile, in conference tournament play at Shoreham-Wading River High School over the weekend, Ross’s number-one, Felipe Reis, the second seed, lost 6-3, 6-0 to top-seeded Jeremy Dubin of Southampton in Monday’s final. Reis won four matches on his way to the final.
Two of Ross’s doubles teams — Jack Brinkley-Cook and Louis Caiola and Schwimmer and Peterson — are to join Reis in the county individual tourney given the fact that each pairing made it to the conference tourney’s semifinal round.
In a match to determine the third-place finisher Monday, Brinkley-Cook and Caiola defeated Schwimmer and Peterson 6-2, 6-3.
Carmo said Schwimmer and Peterson’s showing was “the surprise of the tournament.” To get to the semis, they defeated teams from Shoreham, Mattituck (the fifth seed), and from Ross, their fourth-seeded teammates Harrison Rowen and Pedro Zagury, whom they defeated 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
“We’re sending the most players [five] of any team in our division to the county tournament,” Carmo added.
East Hampton’s Dan Ruggiero lost to Reis in the second round of the singles. Bonac’s Dan Okin and Colin Kavanaugh lost a second-round doubles match to Brinkley-Cook and Caiola, 6-0, 7-6, and East Hampton’s Peter Davis and Nicki Neubert lost 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 to Rowen and Zagury in the first round.