The girls team tennis champs for Long Island’s large schools formed two rows on a court at Eisenhower Park after their impressive work was done. The players proudly held their plaques, and everyone flashed their winning smiles for the cameras.
They had several reasons to smile.
After Syosset claimed the overall Nassau team title in the spring, there was no Long Island Championship because of the fallout from the pandemic.
This time, after taking the first Nassau large schools tournament last month, Syosset won the first LIC for large schools with Wednesday’s 7-0 sweep over Suffolk champ Half Hollow Hills East.
The victory made Syosset 18-0, extended its winning streak to 22 and gave the program its first Long Island team title since 2012 and a regional crown. It also ended the Thunderbirds’ run at 18-0 and their 28-match winning streak.
There’s more. A state team championship tournament is in play for the first time. So Syosset will face Bethlehem (Delmar, NY) in the Division 1 semifinals Friday at the National Tennis Center in Queens. The final is also Friday.
"I know myself and the girls, we’re super excited for states," coach Shai Fisher said. "… They don’t want the season to end. They’re amped up."
Participants must be vaccinated.
"As of right now, we have our complete lineup," Fisher said.
Eesha Kaushik (6-0, 6-1), Alexa Brecher (6-1, 6-0) and Zia Mukherjee (6-1, 6-1) dominated in singles.
"We were all really mentally strong," Kaushik said. "I think that’s what really set us apart."
The first doubles pair of Alex Ho and Rachel Lin (6-4, 6-2) and the third team of Mia Silverman and Manami Wakazono (6-2, 6-4) won in straight sets.
Sara Gao and Olivia Tiegerman were pushed in second doubles by Ariel Dubler and Alana Zinkin before winning, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). Abby Glenn and Amanda Huang also won fourth doubles in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
"I think honestly the (final) score wasn’t totally reflective of our matches," Hills East coach Steve Ferrantello said. "Our singles, yeah, it was lopsided. But our doubles, we gave a really great effort. … I’m extremely proud of (the team) for an amazing season."
Syosset’s season continues.
"I think we’ll do very well," Ho said. "I’m very confident in our team and very confident in Fisher’s coaching."