Julia Stabile has never been in a three-set match in her young life.
But the Westhampton Beach eighth-grader wasn’t about to let that stop her. After dropping her first set 6-3 to Islip’s Maya Levy, she bounced back with a stable finish, 6-2, 6-2, in an over three-hour match to clinch the Monday, October 28, meet 4-3, and with it, the Hurricanes’ second straight Suffolk County team title.
“I needed to pull out this win in order to take the next step,” Stabile said. “I knew I had the best training, and I knew I had to stay calm and cool in order to win, because it’s all on me.”
The fourth singles player tried to take a more aggressive approach to start the match, but her put-away attempts kept missing, so in the second and third set she switched to keeping the ball in play and waiting for her opponent to make the mistake, which worked. She went 4-0 in the final set before giving up a game, and never trailed in any of the first six besides letting the fifth go on 40-all to put her up 5-1. It did take some time though, with most points coming after minutes-long rallies mainly from the baseline.
“For an eighth-grader to show such resolve was incredible,” head coach John Czartosieski said. “She was definitely frazzled after that first set. She’s not used to this. But we had a talk, settled down. She knew her shots that normally work in a match where someone hits harder was not going to work for her here.”
The second and third singles players from the No. 1-seeded Westhampton were also still on the court by the time the doubles matches finished. All three duos had lost to their No. 3 Islip opponents, but first singles standout Rose Hayes swept Emily Dangolis early, 6-0, 6-0, to keep the Hurricanes’ hopes of repeating alive. Sophomore Katelyn Stabile, Julia’s older sister, finished her No. 2 singles match victorious over Ava Delisle, 6-0, 6-1, and Rose Peruso topped Ava Andrio 6-1, 6-2 to leave it all up to Julia.
“I was so stressed out. I couldn’t wait until it was over,” Katelyn Stabile said, laughing. “I thought she played great though. Honestly, I’ve never seen her play a better match in her life. I knew she had it. I just really wanted to see it.”
The win comes after Westhampton finished the regular season 14-0 overall and 10-0 in League VII despite losing five seniors to graduation.
“I lost half my starters, really amazing players,” Czartosieski said. “This group wanted to do it again, but while they were part of the whole memory, most of them didn’t play much. To be in the lineup now, having seen what it takes, they stepped up their game. I’m so proud of these girls. We’re just happy to be here again.”
Westhampton plays Port Washington in the Long Island championship at The Hamlet in Commack October 29.
“This year everyone expected a lot of us,” Katelyn Stabile said. “We knew coming into this we had to give it our all. We’re the No. 1 seed, so we had to win.”