Chalk Saturday up as a learning experience for some of the brightest young tennis talent to hail from Nassau County.
Sophomore Yuval Solomon of Plainview JFK, the third seed in this weekend's state tournament at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, put up a tough effort in falling to defending state champion Matt Gamble of Webster Schroeder, 6-3, 6-1, in the boys final.
After falling behind 3-0 in the first set, Solomon had great opportunities at 3-1 and 5-3 to break Gamble and get back on serve but was unable to do so. At 3-1, Solomon was up 0-40 before Gamble ripped off five straight points. At 5-3, Solomon was up 15-40 before Gamble once again fought back to hold for the set.
"It was a great experience for me," Solomon said. "I want to be back next year and play better tennis and hopefully get in better shape because I got tired today in the final. Hopefully, I'll see him in the final and beat him next time."
Solomon, who was the first Long Island player to reach the final since Cold Spring Harbor's Josh Levine won the tournament in 2012, reached last year's consolation bracket final, as well.
"He's a competitor," Plainview JFK coach Nick Ventimiglia said. "Our goal was to try and get to the final four and he reached the final two. He got beat by a champion, there's nothing wrong with that. The fact that I get to coach him for two more years is a thrill. You don't get to coach many kids like that."
The second-seeded Cold Spring Harbor doubles team of junior Sean Mullins and sophomore Patrick Hannity will have to wait until next year to try for the championship after falling 7-5, 6-3, to Hope and Courage Crawford of Mamaroneck.
"We made it to where we were supposed to but not where we ultimately wanted to be," Mullins said. "Next year, we want to come in and take the whole tournament."
Mullins and Hannity, who are Cold Spring Harbor's top two singles players during the season, came together quickly to form a powerful pair.
The doubles team of Duane and Dylan Davis of Half Hollow Hills West defeated James and Jeremy Wei of Chappaqua Horace Greeley, 6-2, 6-4, to finish in third place.