Tennis Teams To Take On Playoffs

East Hampton’s Becca Kuperschmid at the net during a doubles match against Southampton earlier this season, has her eye on the prize as her team heads into the playoffs this week. Independent/Desirée Keegan
East Hampton’s Becca Kuperschmid at the net during a doubles match against Southampton earlier this season, has her eye on the prize as her team heads into the playoffs this week. Independent/Desirée Keegan

Westhampton Beach and Mattituck are both taking undefeated records into the girls tennis playoffs.

The Hurricanes (12-0 overall, 10-0 in conference play) clinched their first League VII title since 2011 with a 7-0 blanking of East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson (10-2, 8-2) October 2. Helena Jones defeated Catherine LeFaver at fourth singles, 6-0, 6-1, to lead Westhampton.

After losing only Avery Lagatolla to graduation last year, the Hurricanes have a core of veteran senior returners heading into the postseason team tournament, plus the addition of a nationally-ranked freshman in Rose Hayes and Katelyn Stabile, who played for the middle school team last year.

“The girls have the potential of winning the Suffolk Team title,” Westhampton head coach John Czartosieski said. “This has been the goal since the beginning of the season. Everyone has stepped up, our team has significant depth, and the girls are playing with a lot of confidence at this point of the season.”

East Hampton’s only two losses of the season were to Westhampton.

Although hoping to share a piece of the league title, East Hampton head coach Kevin McConville said he’s been pleased with the progress, especially of his senior standout Becca Kuperschmid and sophomore Juliana Barahona, who lost 7-5, 6-3 in the second round of the individual county tournament after being up 5-1 in the first set.

“We have a pretty solid lineup all the way through, everybody definitely improved,” McConville said. “We were focused on individual results rather than wins and losses. Unfortunately, the luck of the draw that we’re matched up with teams in our division, I was hoping to see how we matched up against some different teams to test us, but the girls have been working hard these past couple of weeks to be ready.”

With a 6-1 win over Center Moriches October 2 the Tuckers (10-1 overall, 10-0 in conference play) finished atop League III. Mattituck improved on a 3-8 League VII record from last season.

“We had a great season — we established early on that we had a shot to win the league,” head coach Cory Dolson said, noting though that while the team was senior heavy, there wasn’t a ton of experience. “We had some question marks, but we set out to compete, had some close matches, and ultimately we accomplished our goal.”

Mattituck had lost its 1-3 singles players, standouts from the year prior, but juniors have stepped up to fill their shoes.

All-County player Kelsey Bundrick, at No. 1 singles, was one of those girls.

“She’s one of our strongest players,” the coach said.

The Tuckers’ No. 1 doubles team of seniors Mia Slovak and Sarah Bihm also had its own undefeated streak going this year. And Slovak is a first-year varsity player.

“They had a great year,” Dolson said. “Sarah’s very competitive — that’s one of her best attributes. She hates to lose and played on the state championship-winning lacrosse team, so she’s been playing at the highest levels of competition and that’s helped her out on the court. They complement each other very well. They won a match in the conference tournament and lost a tough one in the second round to fall one win short of being named All-Division.”

Westhampton enters the postseason as the No. 2 seed, earning a first-round bye, and will take on the winner of the No. 15 Half Hollow Hills West-No. 18 Port Jefferson matchup at home October 19 at 3 PM. East Hampton also gets a pass through the first round, coming in at the No. 7 seed, and will face the winner of No. 10 William Floyd-No. 23 Mattituck at home the same day and time. Mattituck faces William Floyd on the road October 18 at 3 PM.

“We have a tough match, but we’ve got a chance,” Dolson said. “Regardless, we’ve had a lot of fun.”

If any of the teams should make it out of Round 2, the quarterfinals will be played October 20 at the higher seed at 10 AM. The Section XI finale is scheduled for October 23 at 2 PM at William Floyd.

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