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Thea Rabman rises up to help Port Washington stay undefeated

The Vikings eighth grader may be 5-feet tall, but she's perfect in first singles.

Thea Rabman prepares for a return during her

Thea Rabman prepares for a return during her first singles victory against Syosset. Photo Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Thea Rabman stands maybe 5-feet tall. On a tennis court, however, the Port Washington eighth grader is far more imposing. That was the case on Wednesday as she put the finishing touches on the Vikings’ perfect regular season, posting a victory at first singles in the final contest of a 4-3 Nassau I win at Syosset.

Rabman rode precise ground strokes to win some long volleys against a limping Caroline Lee to prevail, 6-0, 6-2.

Port Washington (14-0), the defending Long Island champion, ran its winning streak to 31 games. And while that might sound dominating, the margin between it and second-place Syosset (11-3) just isn’t that wide. The Vikings swept the season series with two 4-3 triumphs. They are the top two seeds for a postseason tournament that begins next week.

“These are two teams with a lot of competitive drive,” said Vikings senior Brittany Polevikov, who teamed with Charlotte Foreman in a first doubles win. “When it’s us and them, every match is really close. I wouldn’t be surprised if we meet them in the [County] final.”

Another middle schooler — seventh grader Andrea Martinez — had a key triumph at second singles. Syosset’s Alex Ho beat her in their last meeting, but she flipped the script to win, 6-2, 6-2.

“I feel like I accomplished a lot by winning today,” she said. “It feels good to contribute to the team. To go the whole season without losing says we’re good and we are proud of it, but we want to win a second championship.”

Port Washington is truly an ensemble. The cornerstone of the Vikings' season has actually been their play at doubles. Polevikov and Forman topped Alex Brescher and Stephanie Weiner, 6-3, 6-1, to finish their regular season 14-0. Dylan Sivin and Kelsey Sy posted a 6-1, 6-1 win over Alex Flicker and Olivia Tiegerman at second doubles and are also 14-0.

Casey Fanous and Samantha Radinsky were 13-0 before falling to Syosset’s Ruth Abraham and Sarah Schwartz in three sets.

“We have a lot of talent, but we win with our depth and consistency,” Polevikov said.

“We have very experienced people at doubles and the way they win makes us very tough to beat,” Port Washington coach Shane Helfner said.

The Braves have some tough outs, too. Sarah Wong defeated Misha Petrov, 6-2, 6-1, at third singles and hasn’t lost a match all season. The same is true of Syosset’s fourth doubles tandem of Jenna Koeppel and Sanya Jolly, who topped Carly Hecht and Kayla Hill in three sets.

“We flipped a couple matches from the last time and some girls got to see they can win their matches against them,” Syosset coach Shai Fisher said. “That could be important later. I like where we are.”

Port Washington lost its first match last season and then reeled off 17 in a row to own the Island. However they rarely talk about the streak because, as Polevikov says, “we don’t need that pressure on us.”

“We have players who are never satisfied and a culture of ‘what can we do better?’ ” Helfner said. “That comes from them and not me. They want to win another Long Island championship.”

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