Emily Tannenbaum said the toughest levels of competition bring out the best in her.
This tenacity could make the Commack freshman a tough out this postseason and was on display Tuesday afternoon, when Tannenbaum defeated Harborfields’ Taylor Goetz, 6-1, 6-4, to win the singles title at the Suffolk Division I girls tennis tournament at Half Hollow Hills West.
“It’s fun being out here, having the support of my coach and my teammates,” said Tannenbaum, the top seed in the tournament who is in her first season as Commack’s full-time first singles player. “I like having the higher level of competition. I end up playing better as I play higher-level players.”
On Tuesday, the competition was Goetz, a seventh-grader who earned the division’s second seed.
“I just had to play my game,” Tannenbaum said of the match. She controlled the first set but had to fight off a strong effort from Goetz in an intense second set.
“Her work ethic is tremendous, she’s so passionate and she’s a great team player,” Commack coach Jackie Clarke said of Tannenbaum. “I couldn’t be more proud and I’m excited to see what’s to come at counties.”
In the consolation singles match, Half Hollow Hills East’s Alexis Huber defeated Harborfields’ Lauren Hutton, 6-2, 6-2, to take third place.
In doubles, reigning county champions and top-seeds Ariana Malik and Lauren Cherkin of Half Hollow Hills East won the division doubles crown by defeating No. 2 Hailey Stoerback and Julianna Schulz of Smithtown East, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. The pair first played doubles together at last season’s division tournament, where they reached the finals.
“Last year, we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Cherkin said. “When we made it to the finals, we were ecstatic. This year, we went in with expectations and we pulled it through.”
“This is my last year, so I want to end with a boom,” Malik said. “This is the start of what’s to come. There’ll definitely be a lot of pressure though, at the county tournament, to regain that title.”
In the consolation doubles match, Commack’s Emma Matz and Julia Kinalis topped Smithtown East’s Rebecca Hall and Lauren Schiraldi, 6-4, 6-2.
All the players in action Tuesday will be in the field at the county tournament, which begins Friday afternoon at Shoreham-Wading River.