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Plainview JFK doubles are a fan favorite at state championships
As the last doubles pair from Nassau to qualify for the boys tennis state championships, Plainview JFK’s Josh Young and Yuval Solomon didn’t enter the tournament with much fanfare or high expectations.
But you wouldn’t know that when you heard the noise coming from the stands at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center every time the duo earned a point—and that’s been quite often through the opening rounds.
Young and Solomon beat the odds and reached the quarterfinals before losing there, but are still in contention to earn a fourth-place medal, Saturday. And you can be sure that their enthusiastic entourage will be back in full force to root them on.
“It’s been cool because we’ve been defying expectations ever since counties and it’s pretty awesome that we had so many people here today, especially on a school day,” Young said as his friends and family gathered around to watch him be interviewed by Newsday. “We didn’t get a seed at counties… and we ended up taking care of business there, and then coming here we weren’t seeded again and had to play a top seed in our second match and took care of them.”
“And just that so many people are passionate about watching us play is pretty special.”
Passionate is an understatement.
The Plainview JFK crowd has been the loudest cast on the courts, as they anxiously await the end of each point before erupting at anything from an ace to a simple point at the net.
They’ve even been warned by tournament officials for being too loud.
“It’s great,” Solomon said. “Everyone yelling for us gets us pumped up and we want to win for them.”
And like Solomon and Young have created chemistry on the court, their families and friends have gotten used to cheering for each other off of it.
Young, a senior, played doubles with Solomon’s older brother, Ofir, at last season’s county tournament, but the two didn't qualify for the state championships. This season with Ofir playing at Fairfield University, Yuval, an eighth-grader, has taken the Young-Solomon team to the next level.
"[Josh] knows what he's doing and tells me what to do when I'm nervous," Yuval said.
“Wait, we can be honest here," Young, 17, said jokingly in response. "I think [Yuval] is really the older one on the team. He’s always making sure that I’m calm and plays that role. At 14, he’s wise beyond his years and helps me out on the court.”
So far, it’s been a special experience for both players.
“[Yuval] has four more of these that he’ll probably go through,” Young said. “But this is the first and only states that I’ll ever play in and it’s been more than I could ever explain.”