Boys Tennis Looks to Improve in Spring

There were no wins on Monday
Luke Louchheim, an eighth grader, was undefeated as of earlier this week. Jack Graves

Finally some teams got to play on Monday, though there were no “W’s.” Boys tennis, facing the reigning county champion, Half Hollow Hills East, lost 5-2 in a mandatory nonleaguer; softball was bageled 12-0 at Miller Place, and girls lacrosse lost 17-4 at Bellport.

Presumably, there will be growth this spring. Kevin McConville, the first-year boys tennis coach, was particularly hopeful in this regard. He’s been working inside (at East Hampton Indoor Tennis) and out trying to make his doubles teams more competitive, and the results are beginning to be seen.

All three doubles teams lost in the season-opening match here with Westhampton Beach. On Saturday it was the same at Half Hollow Hills West, though all went to third sets. East Hampton lost that match 4-3.

“There’s been a huge improvement in our doubles play,” McConville said. “I’d been concentrating on singles challenges leading into the Westhampton match, but it became immediately obvious in that match that our doubles needed work. If we’re going to lose, I want to lose the right way!”

“Actually,” he continued, “we should have won that Hills West match. First doubles [Jaedon Glasstein and James Fairchild] wound up losing 7-6 in the third. That would have been our fourth point.”

By Monday, McConville had pretty much settled on the doubles lineup he’ll use this season, with Glasstein and Alex Weseley at one, Matthew McGovern (who gets his nod as the team’s most-improved player) and Miles Clark at two, and Fairchild and Hunter Medler at three.   

Medler and Fairchild won on Monday, in a super tiebreaker over their Hills East counterparts, Tris Stremmel and Aman Malhotra. East Hampton’s other winner that day was Luke Louchheim, at third singles, in straight sets. The eighth grader from Pierson, who did not play against Westhampton because he was ill, thus remained undefeated.

In the other matches Monday, Jonny De Groot lost 6-2, 6-3 to Hills East’s number-one, Abhinav Srivastava, who was third in the county tournament last year and fifth in the state. Srivastava’s killer forehand essentially made the difference, though De Groot looked very good at times, mixing underspun shots with hard topspun ones. Hitting his second serve as hard — or harder — than his first led to a number of double faults, and he got caught frequently in rushing the net as Srivastava drove the ball to his feet.

Ravi MacGurn and his opponent, Ethan Ertel, were evenly matched at second singles, though MacGurn lost in the end in a super tiebreaker, 10-5 after having dug himself into an 8-1 hole. 

So, the Bonackers have begun at 0-3, given their 4-3, 4-3, and 5-2 losses, but they are much better than that. McConville, certainly one of the best tennis coaches East Hampton’s ever had, likes what he sees. “They’re motivated, they know what to do . . . they listen.” 

East Hampton was to have played Southold-Greenport, a league opponent, here yesterday, but McConville said following Monday’s match that rain was predicted. He added that a match that was to have been played last week at Shoreham-Wading River had been rescheduled for Monday, “the first day of spring vacation when everybody’s going to be away. We may have to go with our jayvee kids.”

As for the weeklong spring break, a boys junior varsity lacrosse game with Bellport is to be played at Southampton High School on Monday at 10 a.m.; a softball game with Elwood-John Glenn is to be played here on Tuesday at 11 a.m.; a girls lacrosse game is to be played at Harborfields Tuesday at 11 a.m.; a boys lacrosse game with Kings Park is to be played Wednesday at Southampton High School at 10 a.m., and a boys lacrosse game is to be played at Bellport High School next Thursday at 2 p.m.

Riley Duchemin and his teammates will spend the spring break in Florida. Jack Graves