Cold Spring Harbor believed it had to take all four singles matches against Half Hollow Hills East to win the Long Island boys tennis championship, but though Conor Dauer eventually did secure a singles sweep for the Seahawks, it was their unusual duo at third doubles that ultimately clinched the title.
Tim Schnier, a senior, and Sean Mullins, an eighth-grader, battled back from a set down to beat Eric Teplitz and Ross Reiffman, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, giving Cold Spring Harbor its fifth consecutive Long Island championship, 5-2, over previously unbeaten Hills East Monday at Smithtown East.
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"I bring the experience and he brings the youthful talent," Schnier said. "It was a bumpy ride but we finished."
Cold Spring Harbor (16-1) would have completed its third straight undefeated season if not for a loss on May 3 to Syosset.
"We weren't as deep as we were last year but the kids came through when it counted," coach Paul Poschmann said. "We were hoping to get a sweep in singles, and that's what we got."
Dauer's match at second singles and Schnier and Mullins' match at third doubles were the last two of the day, after Cold Spring Harbor held a 3-2 lead by winning three singles matches but losing two in doubles. It was unclear which of the two remaining matches would decide the championship, but Schnier and Mullins closed their match just minutes before Dauer did.
Mullins said he relied on Schnier's experience to carry them through the match.
"We lost the first set but Timmy kept me up the whole time," Mullins said. "If he wasn't there I probably would have gotten down on myself, but we had a good combination and we played well."
Dauer lost the first set against Kyle Alper, but powered back to win, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, as he came to the net more and used his commanding forehand to chase Alper along the baseline in the final two sets.
"That's a big part of my game," Dauer said. "I use my forehand to my advantage and I thought I'd move him around and play into my strengths."
The other singles matches were won by Cold Spring Harbor in straight sets, as two-time state champion Josh Levine beat Zain Ali, 6-2, 6-2, at first singles; Jon Paris topped Alec Tuckey, 6-1, 6-0, at third singles, and Connor Mullins bested Travis Leaf, 6-0, 6-0, at fourth singles.
At first doubles, the all-state Hills East pair of Alex Ricciuti and Jeremy Schnapp beat Nick Stammatos and Eli Rieders, 6-1, 6-2, and Jeff Cherkin and Roger Cheng beat Brett Titcomb and Alex Fontini at second doubles, 6-3, 6-1.
Hills East (18-1) entered with three straight Suffolk titles and will carry its 59-match winning streak against Suffolk teams into next season. For Cold Spring Harbor, Poschmann said he was proud of the way his team persevered.
"This probably was the most difficult championship," said Poschmann, "but it is the sweetest."