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Sofia Walzer, Brittany Polevikov get a delayed LI title

Port Washington defeated Ward Melville, 5-2, on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 1, 2017 at Half Hollow Hills West to win the Long Island championship in girls tennis. (Credit: Newsday / Sal Cacciatore)

For Port Washington girls tennis, Wednesday afternoon’s win was worth the wait.

The Vikings defeated Ward Melville, 5-2, at Half Hollow Hills West to win their first Long Island championship since 2008. The match began last Wednesday, but play was suspended because of rain.

“It’s a great accomplishment to do this in my senior year,” said Sofia Walzer, who won at first doubles with Brittany Polevikov, 6-0, 6-0, in the only matchup that concluded last week. That left the duo in an unfamiliar role as spectators Wednesday.

“Whenever we’re at the court, we always want to step on it and give it our all,” Polevikov said. “But it was nice to have a win under our belt and come here and cheer on the girls.”

The players on the other courts were in the even more unusual position of finishing a match that had begun a week earlier.

“It wasn’t easy,” coach Shane Helfner said. “In practice, I tried to simulate where everyone was in their match. If someone was down, 15-40, I had them start that way. I knew getting off to a good start today was going to be important.”

The preparation seemed to pay off. Port Washington (17-1) held a one-set lead on three courts when play was suspended and finished with a victory on all of them. Martine McGowan won, 6-0, 6-2, at second singles, her older sister Tiffany won, 6-2, 6-2, at third singles, and Kelsey Sy and Mia Froccaro won 6-0, 6-1, in the match-clincher at third doubles.

The Vikings’ Casey Fanous and Charlotte Forman also won at second doubles, 7-6 (6), 6-2 (their court was still in the first set at the time of the delay).

Ward Melville (18-1) got its victories from Denise Lai, who defeated Thea Rabman, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 at first singles, and Anna Ma, who won 7-5, 6-3, at fourth singles.

The victory caps a season that also saw the Vikings win their first county title since 2013 (a year when there was no Long Island championship), and Rabman and Martine McGowan took fourth place in the state doubles tournament.

“This season has been a dream come true,” Helfner said. “Everything seemed to go our way this year and that’s a credit to the girls for working really hard.”

“It was a great experience being a part of this,” Tiffany McGowan said. “This team will always be in my heart.”

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