Josh Levine of Cold Spring Harbor lifts the ball to...

Josh Levine of Cold Spring Harbor lifts the ball to serve to Jeremy Court during the singles final match. Levine won 6-4, 6-2 for the state singles championship title in the NYSPHSAA boys tennis state tournament at the United States Tennis Center in Flushing. (June 4, 2011) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Up 5-4 in the first set, Cold Spring Harbor's Josh Levine could have been rattled.

Leading 5-1 just a few minutes earlier against No. 1 seed Jeremy Court, Levine had the serve but none of the momentum.

But the No. 2 seed refocused and used his first serve to knock Court back on his heels, a position from which he never recovered.

Levine went on to defeat the defending champion from New Rochelle, 6-4, 6-2, to win the NYSPHSAA boys tennis state championships Saturday at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows.

He became the first Seahawk to win an individual tennis state title.

"This is amazing," Levine said. "Every kid who plays high school tennis dreams of this. I'm lucky enough to have accomplished it, and right now, I feel on top of the world."

Said Seahawks coach Paul Poschmann: "I could cry right now. It's the best match I've ever seen him play. This is well-deserved."

Levine earned his final berth with a 6-4, 6-4 semifinal win earlier in the day over Matt Nardella of Christian Brothers Academy.

Court, who beat Garden City's Zach Morris, 6-2, 6-0, in his semifinal, could not find his rhythm against Levine. In going down 4-0 in the first set, he made more unforced errors than he had during the Morris match.

His scraping return winners were instead hitting the net. His once-crisp backhanded slices were falling short.

And Levine was there to capitalize on those mistakes.

"He might not have been on the top of his game, but I think I had something to do with that by pressuring him and forcing him to make the errors," Levine said.

In battling back from the 5-1 deficit to make it 5-4, Court seemed to have restored his game. As the two rested on the changeover, Poschmann leaned over the fence and gave Levine some advice.

"Poschmann told me to stay calm and be patient, and that's what I did," Levine said "I got my first serve in, and I kept it consistent. He missed a couple, and I closed it out."

Levine forced two breaks of Court's serve in the second set and then, serving for the match, he double-faulted his first service point. But he then won four straight points for the game, the match and the title.

He didn't drop a set during his five tournament matches, and Levine says his game reached another level against Court.

"This is the best I have played in a high school match," Levine said. "I was just attacking. Every ball, I took advantage of, and I was moving the ball around and closing the points out."

Poschmann could only marvel at his first state champ.

"He deserves everything," he said. "I just bring these kids along. I'm not responsible for any of this. This is a nice feather in his cap, a state championship."

For Levine, winning a state title against Court proved extra special. Last year, he fell in straight sets to Court in the state semis, losing a first-set tiebreak en route to a 7-6 (4), 6-2 defeat.

"Court is a great player, but getting revenge is definitely huge," Levine said. "It's a part of why we play this game. You want to get payback, and I did."

Levine completed a perfect 28-0 season at singles. His Seahawks won the Nassau title and their fourth straight Long Island team championship.

"Honestly, I don't think it could get any better than this," Levine said.

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