Westhampton Bids Farewell To Senior Quartet

Desirée Keegan
Senior Rose Peruso returns the ball in her final Westhampton Beach match.
Senior Rose Peruso returns the ball in her final Westhampton Beach match. Independent/Desirée Keegan

All of Westhampton Beach’s senior starters have been solid standouts in the Hurricanes’ lineup for at least the last four seasons.

So while the Hurricanes’ 2019 finale 7-0 loss to Port Washington in the Long Island championship stung, it didn’t put a damper on the quartet’s storied careers.

“We’re just so proud of our team and how far we’ve come,” senior Jen Curran said following the November 6 match at The Hamlet Golf & Country Club in Commack. “Even that we made it back to the Long Island championship is such a great accomplishment.”

Senior Helena Jones serves. Independent/Desirée Keegan

It’s true. Westhampton (18-1) lost five seniors from last year’s team that won the program’s first county crown since 2008 and Suffolk’s first Long Island title in the 12-year history of the contest. Coming into this season, head coach John Czartosieski said even he had his doubts.

“A lot of skeptics didn’t even have us in the running, including myself,” he said. “I lost five really good starters — that’s half of my team — but the girls were hungry.”

The Hurricanes just weren’t ready to give up on transcending the successful foundation they’d built. The senior four fought for four straight league titles, two undefeated regular seasons, and a perfect 2018 campaign to go along with two straight Suffolk County and the Long Island championship nod.

“Having those memories is really what we’re going to take away from high school,” senior Rose Peruso said. “Knowing that even though we didn’t win the LIC this year, we won it last year, were Suffolk County champions both years; so you take the good and leave the bad.”

Peruso, who battled at No. 3 singles against Port Washington, was a piece of both title match-clinching victories at No. 2 doubles last season, alongside 2018 grad Juliet Tomaro. With Curran this season in doubles postseason play, the pair won the division and placed in the top four in the county to earn their first state tournament berth.

Senior Jen Curran waits for the ball. Independent/Desirée Keegan

“Most of my seniors have been on the team for four years, so they know what it takes to win, and they had a great run,” Czartosieski said. “They brought us all the way back here. That’s a tremendous accomplishment in and of itself.”

But the coach and his seniors knew what was waiting at the end of the road wasn’t going to be easy, with Port Washington (18-0) undefeated in team play like Westhampton heading into Wednesday’s match.

“We knew they’d be a really strong team and we’d have to bring our best game,” Curran said. “Although unfortunately it didn’t work out the way we wanted it to. Congrats to them, they played a great match.”

The final had been postponed for eight days because of wet weather conditions, leaving the match to be played after the state tournament, where Port Washington’s No. 1 singles player Thea Rabman, a freshman, finished second, and doubles duo of Ellie Ross and Andrea Martinez De Los Rios finished seventh.

Senior Rieve Delisle returns a serve. Independent/Desirée Keegan

The Vikings won all three doubles matches early, including Port Washington’s Darlan Perllieve and Charlotte Forman’s defeat of Westhampton’s No. 1 duo of seniors Rieve Delisle and Helena Jones, to take a 3-0 lead before Martinez De Los Rios clinched the victory with her 6-3, 6-1 win over sophomore Katelyn Stabile at second singles. Finishing up soon after was Rabman with a 7-5, 6-4 win over sophomore and Suffolk County champion Rose Hayes, who placed fifth in the state and is ranked No. 64 in the nation according to Tennis Recruiting Network. While the pair didn’t meet in Latham, the girls did face off in a recent USTA tournament in a match won by Rabman, who is ranked 23rd. Hayes was tied with her foe 5-5 Wednesday before Rabman closed out the first set.

“We didn’t lose, we got beat,” Czartosieski said. “We got beat by a better team; they deserved it.”

The coach said he continues to plant the seeds to get next year’s group ready to fill the departing senior’s shoes. While the singles lineup remains almost entirely intact — eighth-grader Julia Stabile, Katelyn’s younger sister, rounds out the third of four spots — the doubles lineup is taking another huge hit. Because Westhampton was able to do it without five, what’s to say filling four spots won’t be a motivator for the Hurricanes to prove they’ve still got it?

“The girls continue to buy into it,” Czartosieski said. “These girls wanted to make a name for themselves, and they did. And we look forward to coming back here next year.”

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Westhampton Beach’s girls tennis team made the Hurricanes’ second straight Long Island championship appearance.

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