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Hills East tennis just keeps on winning
That’s the Half Hollow Hills East boys tennis team’s record against Suffolk opponents over the last eight seasons.
Hills East eclipsed its own school-record of 61 consecutive victories over Suffolk foes set in 2009 with a 5-0 start to the 2013 season, extending its current winning streak to 64 matches and counting.
“It never gets old,” Hills East coach Tom Depelteau said. “Beyond that I’m speechless.”
Hills East has won eight of the last nine Suffolk championships, last suffering defeat in the 2009 final against Commack in a match that not only stopped the 61-match run but also denied Hills East its fifth consecutive county title. Since then, the Thunderbirds have won three straight Suffolk championships and have gone undefeated in county play, only losing in the Long Island final to fellow powerhouse Cold Spring Harbor in each of the last three seasons.
“I think this team is as good as any,” Depelteau said of his current squad. “We’ve had some good teams over the years. We’re strong at the top this year and have great depth too.”
Zain Ali and Kyle Alper lead the way as two juniors who both competed at the individual state championships last season. They also happen to be the only two players still on the team that have been a part of both streaks, joining the varsity squad as seventh-graders in 2009.
“Most of these kids have never really lost, they think it’s normal,” Depelteau said. “It’s not on their mind at all. They don’t talk about, they go out and play each day and just laugh a lot… it’s fair to say it’s special.”