LATHAM, N.Y. — Rachel Arbitman’s first varsity tennis season was a successful one, even if it did not end with a win.
There were plenty of other victories on the court as the Hewlett freshman’s year included a Nassau County title and a trip to the state final. It also featured new bonding experiences off the court for a player who previously played only in individual tournaments.
Arbitman’s debut campaign ended Monday morning when she took second place at the state girls tennis tournament after falling to Julia Andreach of Our Lady of Mercy (Rochester) in the championship match. Andreach won, 6-4, 6-2, to hand Arbitman her only loss of the season.
“It wasn’t the outcome that I wanted, but I’m proud of myself for making it all the way to the final as a freshman,” Arbitman said.
Arbitman, who won her previous three matches in straight sets, said the tournament was memorable.
“It was really fun and I liked how our section came together,” Arbitman said of her tournament experience with the other players from Nassau’s Section VIII. “Even though we had to play each other, we still wanted the best for each other.”
One of those players was Great Neck North’s Amy Delman, who fell to Arbitman in Sunday’s semifinal and finished fourth in the tournament. She was the first person after Hewlett coach Abby Samlin to approach Arbitman after the match.
“She told me, ‘You did really well and you should be proud of yourself,’ ” Arbitman said.
Port Washington’s Thea Rabman and Martine McGowan finished fourth in the doubles tournament.
Arbitman is ranked 57th nationally among girls 14 and under by the United States Tennis Association but said her first season playing high school tennis was special to her because of the camaraderie.
“I’m really happy that I played and it was just the best experience ever,” she said. “Since tennis is such an individual sport, I’m really happy to be part of a team.”
“This was a unique experience for Rachel, not being by herself in tournaments, and being part of a school team,” Samlin said. “Everyone benefited. She loved every part of it and she was a gift to our team. She should be proud.”