Jackie Bukzin found herself in an unfamiliar position.
After losing only one game on her way to winning four matches at the Suffolk Division IV individual tennis tournament at William Floyd, the top seed from Eastport-South Manor dropped two of the first four games against Floyd's Emily Fernandez in Tuesday's final.
"In the beginning, I was trying to adjust to the wind because it was breezy out here," Bukzin said after issues with her serve allowed Fernandez to break the sophomore twice early. "After that, my coach talked to me and told me to stay calm and after that, I just played my game and was able to mix in some slices and different kind of shots, so I thought that really helped."
It helped so much that she didn't lose another game, beating the third-seeded Fernandez, 6-2, 6-0, to win the title.
Bukzin finished third in last year's county tournament and is the top returning player in Suffolk. She'll make her fourth consecutive appearance beginning Saturday.
"That added some pressure this year, but I know that I just have to believe in myself," Bukzin said. "There's other good players but that's definitely one of my goals this year. I really want to win it and I think I have a good chance."
In Division I, second-seeded Kimberly Lao of Commack continued her dominant season, winning the title at Smithtown East on Monday. The eighth-grader defeated top seed Emily Shutman of Huntington, 6-0, 6-3.
"What's special about Kimberly is her unbelievable work ethic and the fire and passion she has," Commack coach Jackie Clark said. "She just goes out there and is focused and calm. She has incredible footwork and always plays very aggressive and is attacking. She's got all the tools."
No. 3 Stephanie Chikvashvili of Half Hollow Hills East won the consolation final, defeating Jackie Guidice of Commack, 6-2, 6-2.
"We're having an incredible year," Clark said. "We haven't had two in the counties in a long time."
Commack finished the regular season 12-0.
In Division II, Hannah Niggemeier of Sayville defeated Maddie Germano of Islip, 6-2, 6-2, to win the championship Monday.
"She has a very good, strong power backhand," Sayville coach Steve Aronsen said. "It's something that's been working for her all season. Her serve is very consistent."
No. 1 Sadhana Sridhar of Stony Brook defeated No. 2 Rachel Collins of Port Jefferson, 6-2, 6-1, Tuesday to win the Division III title.