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Despite missing player, Commack wins 30th in row

Commack's Wongjung Choi reaches for the forehand return

Commack's Wongjung Choi reaches for the forehand return against Half Hollow Hills' Shreya Barot during the girls third singles match on Monday, April 23, 2018 at Commack High School. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Commack girls badminton team was served a challenge.

With its second singles player Lexi Glogower away for a college visitation, the rest of the girls had to start in spots they were not accustomed to, but stepped up.

Despite a roster scramble, Commack picked up its 30th consecutive win, and has not lost a match since the Suffolk County finals in 2016.

The defending county champions earned a 9-0 win over Half Hollow Hills at Commack High School on Monday, improving to 10-0 in Suffolk I.

Half Hollow Hills, a combined team of Half Hollow Hills East and Half Hollow Hills West, falls to 7-3 and had four girls out of the lineup, coach Kerri Zuk said.

Co-captain Lauren Sabatino, who won her second singles match in three sets (11-3, 4-11, 11-9), called the match a “big success” for the team.

“Leading up to today’s match, there was definitely a lot of excitement and a little bit of a nervous feeling from our team,” Sabatino said. “Half Hollow Hills is our toughest competitor. Everybody played really well and we really tried our best.”

Individually, Sabatino is also 10-0, switching from third and second singles. Her teammate, Emily Haber, who plays at first singles is 8-0, after winning 11-5, 11-5 on Monday.

Commack’s third through fifth singles all played a spot up in the rotation. Jenna Lehrer, who usually plays at fifth singles, played at fourth, winning her match 11-7, 11-4.

Does the thought of the unbeaten streak cross Commack’s mind?

“I don’t mention it to the girls per se, but I’m sure many of the girls who were on the team last year remain aware that we were undefeated last year and they want to keep that going,” coach Jesus Valdes said. “I think the potential of having an undefeated season is in the back of their minds. I don’t mention it to them as motivation.

“Last year’s team was last year’s team,” he said. “I don’t expect them to be that team, I just expect them to do as well as they can this year. Just hearing them talk they certainly want to keep that going.”

Commack has six matches remaining this season.

“I just hope as a team we can all win the matches, even if a few people don’t win individually, because at the end of the day, it’s a team sport, and if we work together we can be county champions,” Sabatino said.

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