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Herricks' Taylor Cosme wins Nassau tennis title

Herricks's Taylor Cosme competes in the Nassau girls

Herricks's Taylor Cosme competes in the Nassau girls individual tennis championships on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Taylor Cosme was in a familiar place, yet in an unfamiliar situation.

The Herricks senior found herself Sunday in the final of the Nassau girls individual tennis championship at Eisenhower Park for the second straight year.

But after the first set against Locust Valley's Alex Koniaev she was trailing -- something that hadn't happened all weekend in the tournament.

"After that first set, I was kind of disappointed in myself," Cosme said. "I was up 3-1 and I was playing well and then she started playing well and I missed a few shots. I was nervous but in the back of my mind, I knew that I could do it."

And do it she did -- winning the second set, 6-0, and closing out the championship by winning the final set, 6-3. Koniaev won the first set, 6-4.

"I started pumping myself up more and yelling 'come on,' " Cosme said about her attitude as the second set went on. "It really changed the match."

Now Cosme is focusing on going back to states and improving on her quarterfinal finish from last year.

"I think I'm a lot more mature this year and I've really developed my game," she said. "Last year, my forehand wasn't as big and now it's my best shot. I'm also more confident in myself and I really believe I should win and that helps me a lot."

Cosme will be joined at the state championship by Koniaev and Shanice Arthur of Jericho, who finished third.

In the doubles draw, Oyster Bay's second-seeded Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky overcame top seed Katie Cirella and Risha Malhotra of Syosset, 6-2, 6-4.

"Beating them definitely boosts our confidence going to states since they did well last year," Matute said. "I think we have a good chance."

Cirella made it to the county finals last year as a partner of Rhea Malhotra, Risha's older sister. Cirella now has been all-state four years in a row, all with different partners.

"We were expecting they were going to play great," Kowalsky said. "We played out of our minds and did a really good job together."

The teams will be joined at states by Maddie Clinton and Amanda Foo of Manhasset, who finished third.

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