Two days after teaming with Albert Chang to win the doubles championship at the Suffolk individual boys tennis tournament, Half Hollow Hill East’s Michael Han was in another pressure-packed situation.
After the host Thunderbirds took three of the first four matches at Monday’s Suffolk team championship against Commack, Han knew if he could pull out the second set against Gabe Chan it would clinch the title for Hills East.
Han did just that, and after his 6-3, 7-6 (1) win clinched a 4-2 team victory, the Hills East team erupted with joy.
“When I got it back to 5-6 I asked coach what the score was and he told me it was 3-1,” Han said. “Then he told me I was about to win it for us and I did it.”
Hills East won all three completed singles matches, including a 6-2, 7-6 (1) win by Ishan Varma over Tyler D’Amato.
“We played earlier in the season and he beat me fairly easy,” Varma said. “He’s normally a doubles player and he’s great at the net so I knew coming in I had to hit deeper shots and not let him come to the net. It worked out today because my serve was really on.”
Varma also played in the doubles tournament Saturday and finished third with partner Aryan Sethi.
“Playing singles is definitely a lot more physical and tiring,” Varma said. “It definitely helped though with volleying and making that transition.”
Hills East picked up its other wins at second singles, when Dylan D’Agate defeated Matt Strogach, 6-3, 6-4, and at second doubles, as Matt Andelsman and Jesse Kanofsky defeated Kevin Chen and Cooper Schoenfeld, 6-3, 6-2.
“In the beginning of the season we knew it was going to be us with Commack and Harborfields at the top of the league,” Hills East coach Steven Ferrantello said.
“We lost to Harborfields twice during the season but we got them in the semifinals and that took a big effort and today we got an even bigger effort. To beat Commack three times was going to be very difficult but I believed in this team from the very beginning. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Hills East moves on to play Nassau champion Port Washington in the Long Island championship Wednesday at the Hamlet in Commack.