Ellie Ross and Dasha Perfiliev knew they were among the best in Nassau County after winning the doubles championship in the spring season. But because the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancelation of the state championship, that was as far as they were able to go.
"After winning the county doubles title last season and not being able to go upstate I felt bad," Port Washington coach Shane Helfner said. "Being able to stay in the hotel and go up to represent your school, you can’t replicate that anywhere else."
They got their chance to take in all those experiences this fall -- and also took home a state title.
Ross and Perfiliev defeated Kelly Barnes and Maya Clinard of Orchard Park, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, to capture the championship on Oct. 30 in Schenectady.
"Ellie had been to states before, but it was the first time for Dasha," Helfner said. "They were both so excited."
The duo lost only four games in their matches on the way to the state final but fell behind 5-0 in the championship match.
"They’re both competitors and they always believe they'll find a way," Helfner said. "They were a little rattled in terms of body language."
And find a way they did, rallying to win the second state title in Port Washington program history after Megan and Katie Zebroski won in 2001, according to Helfner.
"They both have this competitive drive," Helfner said. "You can teach some things but sometimes players just have that grit. They fear losing and they want to be successful whatever it takes."