Mastic Beach may not be known as a tennis town, but don't tell that to Floyd's Emily and Brooke Fernandez.
Behind Emily, a junior, and Brooke, a sophomore, the Colonials have a deep, talented lineup ready to challenge for a second straight Suffolk championship.
"They've helped put us over the top," coach Dave Pia said. "In the past we've been successful, but we've never had that really good number one player. We've always had good depth but trouble at the top. But with Emily and Brooke we can compete with anyone."
Emily and Brooke reached the singles quarterfinals and the doubles team of Lisa Lin and Kaitlin Hibbert were finalists in the individual county tournament held at Floyd on Monday. The team tournament began Tuesday with Floyd beating visiting Westhampton, 7-0.
The sisters began playing tennis at a young age with their father and have been on the varsity team for four seasons. They're the product of a youth program that Pia said began in 2003 and has created countless solid players.
"We actually started playing soccer when we were younger but we didn't really like it," Emily said. "That's when we started playing tennis. It was good socially and we really started developing our games. From there we moved on to private lessons and the school team."
With a group of seniors complementing Emily and Brooke, the Colonials won the county title in 2014.
This season the pressure was placed squarely on the shoulders of the Fernandez sisters.
"This is a totally different team than last year, you really can't compare them," Brooke said. "We have more experience in terms of years on the team than anyone else."
So far, they've handled it extremely well.
"They're the top two kids to ever come through this program," Pia said. "Brooke could be a number one at most schools; she has very good knowledge and mastery of the game. She can look at her opponent and analyze and do what she has to do to win. And Emily wants to win at all costs. She will do what she has to do to win. She will battle you to the end no matter how long the point is."
Now Floyd is only three wins away from back-to-back championships.
"We lost so much from last year but we were ready," Brooke said. "We always knew it would be harder to defend the title than to get it."