Good Evening
Good Evening
SportsHigh SchoolTennis

Mercy’s Rose Hayes captures Suffolk IV tennis title

Rose Hayes of Mercy during the Suffolk Division

Rose Hayes of Mercy during the Suffolk Division IV girls tennis individual championships at Shoreham-Wading River on Oct. 11, 2017. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

On the first day of the Suffolk IV girls tennis tournament, Rose Hayes had her eye on the posterboard with the singles bracket on it. After winning a hard-fought final on Wednesday, the Mercy eighth-grader took it home.

The top-seeded Hayes defeated No. 2 Jackie Bukzin of Eastport-South Manor, the reigning division and county champion, 7-5, 7-5, at Shoreham-Wading River in a rematch of last season’s division final. Bukzin had won the last three division championships.

“I remember the first day of the tournament, I wanted to bring the poster board home, so I got it,” Hayes said.

“She was my last match in the league, and I beat her there, so I got an idea of what I could do,” she said of Bukzin, who had won the previous four head-to-head matches. “I applied it to this match and it worked out. I knew if I did it before I could do it again.”

“It is our first division championship for a singles player in McGann-Mercy history,” coach Michael Clauberg said. “It is a testament to her. She is a fighter, she refuses to lose, and she’ll run any ball down.”

Hayes started strong, jumping out to a 5-1 lead in the first set before Bukzin fought back to make it 5-5. The eighth-grader answered by taking the next two games to win the set.

“It’s good to get off to a good start, but anything can happen, especially when your opponent is that good,” Hayes said. “I told myself, ‘you’re playing Jackie, Rose, so you have to focus!’ It’s always a tough match, it’s never easy.”

She said her ability to move was one of the keys to the win: “She hits good shots, she hits winners, so you have to move.”

“She’s phenomenal at seeing and getting to the ball,” Clauberg said. “Her effort is a coach’s dream.”

In the doubles final, Floyd’s Brooke Fernandez and Hailey Loughlin defeated Westhampton’s Onalee Batcheller and Emma Bender, 6-3, 1-2, via injury default.

Mattituck’s Liz Dwyer took third in singles after beating East Hampton’s Becca Kuperschmid, 7-6 (5), 6-0. Westhampton’s Rose Peruso and Juliet Tomaro defeated Floyd’s Katie Senetto and Chloe DeGrauw, 7-5, 6-1, to finish third in doubles.

More high schools