A ball that dropped just over the net, then an overhead smash put Yuval Solomon down 0-2 in the first set on Sunday, but the Plainview JFK junior rallied with a championship on the line.
Solomon won 12 of his next 14 games to beat Athell Bennett of Valley Stream Central, 6-2, 6-2, for his second straight Nassau boys tennis singles title at Oceanside High School.
Solomon, Bennett and singles consolation match winner Sean Mullins of Cold Spring Harbor all qualify for the state championship, held June 2-4 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens.
Solomon beat Sewanhaka’s Keegan Morris, 6-0, 6-0, in the earlier semifinal. For his match against Bennett, who Solomon said is a dangerous player at the net, his plan was to create more space. “I had to play more aggressive and run down some more balls in the second match,” Solomon said. “It was tougher, but I had to fight through and I did.”
Said Plainview JFK coach Nick Ventimiglia about Solomon: “He defends the court better than anybody I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to put the ball past him. He adjusts, he sees what’s working for him . . . he has so many strengths. It’s like a pitcher with four pitches, which one do I throw next?”
Syosset repeats as doubles champs
The faces are new for Syosset, but the result is the same.
Kabir Rajpal and Neel Rajesh of Syosset beat Zachary Khazzam and Sangjin Song of Roslyn, 6-1, 6-3, to win the school’s second consecutive county doubles title Sunday.
The two pairs and the Syosset’s third place team of Spencer Lowitt and Preset Rajpal qualify for states.
“We were really active at net today and the baseline guy was staying steady,” Rajesh said. “We stayed calm. It feels great.”