The 2024 Newsday All-Long Island boys tennis team. Front row,...

The 2024 Newsday All-Long Island boys tennis team. Front row, from left: George Londos of Chaminade, Samarth Deepudass of Herricks, Eric Benderly of Commack, Ethan Solop of Roslyn and Bryan Volk of Half Hollow Hills West. Back row, from left: Devan Melandro of Syosset, Nikhil Shah of Syosset, Harshith Pennabadi of Ward Melville, Shashank Pennabadi of Ward Melville, Russell Notaris of Friends Academy, Bryan Bin of Friends Academy and Coach Shai Fisher of Syosset. Credit: James Escher

Long Island Players of the Year: Harshith Pennabadi (Sr.) and Shashank Pennabadi (Jr.), Ward Melville

The Pennabadi brothers realized a dream three years in the making when they teamed up for the first time — for the last action of Harshith Pennabadi’s high school career — and won the state doubles championship. The pairing upset the No. 2, No. 6 and No. 1 seeds in their last three matches of the NYSPHSAA Individual Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens. They prevailed in a high-level title match over top-seeded Sam Saeed and Jack Reis of Scarsdale, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Shashank Pennabadi, left, and brother Harshith Pennabadi of Ward Melville.

Shashank Pennabadi, left, and brother Harshith Pennabadi of Ward Melville. Credit: James Escher

The win was a great finish to Harshith Pennabadi’s time at Ward Melville before heading to Temple next year and gave Shashank Pennabadi a state title after being half of the third-place finisher in 2022 and 2023.

Both of the Pennabadis have well-rounded games and can excel on either the baseline or at the net, but they were at their best with Harshith pounding ground strokes from the back and Shashank Pennabadi finishing points up front. As a tandem, they were 19-1 in doubles this season. Shashank Pennabadi, a three-time All-Long Island selection, had a record of 26-2 in all matches played; Harshith Pennabadi was a combined 33-1 in singles and doubles.

Nassau Player of the Year: Samarth Deepudass, Herricks, Jr.

Samarth Deepudass of Herricks.

Samarth Deepudass of Herricks. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

He used phenomenal athleticism, technically sound ground strokes and unwavering patience on the baseline to make his mark on the season. He played No. 1 in the county’s strongest singles lineup and helped Herricks make a run to the Nassau County Division I quarterfinals and then won four matches in two days to become the county singles individual champion.

Deepudass was a quarterfinalist in the state individual championships, taking sixth place. He finished the season with a 19-3 record in singles. “He hasn’t come close to reaching his ceiling as a player,” Herricks coach Ray Cross said. “With his work ethic, he will be even more feared next season.”

SINGLES

George Londos, Chaminade, Sr.

From his position playing first singles, Londos led Chaminade (15-2) to a first-place finish in the regular season and then the NSCHSAA team championship. He didn’t lose a match in conference play or the playoffs and advanced to the title match in the Diocesan individual championships.

Eduardo Menezes, Ross School, Sr.

The Brazilian made a huge impact on the Suffolk tennis scene in his first season of high school tennis. He didn’t drop a match as Ross won the Suffolk Division II team championship, didn’t drop a set in racing to the county individual singles title and reached the state singles quarterfinals. Between singles and doubles play, he posted a 25-1 record. He will play at Division I Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

Ethan Solop, Roslyn, Jr.

The strong-willed power hitter helped the Bulldogs win a conference regular-season title and reach the Nassau County Division I team final. In tournament play, he finished second in the county and fifth in the state. He went 17-3. 

Bryan Volk, Half Hollow Hills West, Sr.

The resilient and resourceful Volk battled some injuries this season, but was at his best in the Suffolk County and state individual championships. He took second place in the county tournament and reached the Round of 16 in the state tourney. The two-time All-Long Island selection finished the season with a 14-3 record in singles and doubles and will play at William & Mary next year.

DOUBLES

James Yu (Sr.) and Eric Benderly (Jr.), Commack

Commack lost significant contributors before this season and Yu and Benderly still managed to lead them to a hard-fought fourth straight Suffolk County Division I championship. They captured the county individual doubles title and reached the semifinals of the state tournament. In all matches, Yu was 24-3 and Benderly 25-2.

Russell Notaris (Sr.) and Bryan Bin (Soph.), Friends Academy

Notaris, selected All-Long Island for the second time, and Bin helped the Quakers excel in the postseason as they won Nassau County and Long Island Division II titles and reached the state final. Teamed for individual championships, they reached the Nassau County title match and took seventh in the state tournament. At singles and doubles, Notaris was 20-8 and Bin 17-9. 

Nikhil Shah (Jr.) and Devan Melandro (So.), Syosset

Shah and Melandro continued to ring up championships en route to second All-Long Island selections. Their play at singles in team competition helped Syosset win a second straight state championship and when again paired in the postseason, they won a second straight doubles title at the Nassau Individual Championships. Shah’s combined record at singles and doubles this season was 16-11; Melandro’s was 23-4.

Henry Tietz (Sr.) and Leonardo Carmo (8th grade), Ross School

Both were lineup mainstays as the Ravens won the Suffolk County Division II team title. When they were teamed for postseason play, the duo took third place in doubles at the county individual championships and reached the Round of 16 in the state tourney. Between singles and doubles, Tietz was 23-3 and Carmo 20-3.

Coach of the Year: Shai Fisher, Syosset

Always adroit at finding the right combinations for doubles teams, Fisher was tested this season. A few key players didn’t return off the 2023 Division I state champion and Syosset stumbled twice early as he searched for a winning lineup. When he found it, Syosset (18-2) couldn’t be stopped in its bid to repeat, winning its final 14 matches.

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