Ross with the championship trophy during the Suffolk High School...

Ross with the championship trophy during the Suffolk High School boys tennis Small Schools team final between Bayport-Blue Point and Ross on Thursday May 18 2023 at Bayport Blue Point High School Credit: Bob Sorensen

Much as Max Karmely wanted to know how his Ross School teammates were faring in the Ravens’ Suffolk Small Schools boys team tennis championship against Bayport-Blue Point, there was neither time nor perspective. The Phantoms’ Luke Jensen was hanging tough across the net in their fourth singles match. And even during changeovers, the view from Court 7 made seeing what was happening in the other six matches tough.

The first report he got came shortly after he’d won the first set from Jensen and it wasn’t good news: two matches were done and host Bayport-Blue Point had won both. Ross would need to win four of the five still going to win the title.

Karmely, a Ross senior co-captain, did his part by finishing off a 6-3, 6-1 victory and was stunned by the raucous ovation after the final point. His win was the championship-clinching fourth Ravens victory in what would become a 5-2 triumph.

Ross (12-2) is a county tennis champion for the first time and will play the Nassau titlist in Thursday’s Long Island championship for a trip to the state semifinal at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

There is something heartwarming about Karmely delivering the clincher. Karmely is playing his final competitive team tennis matches this spring. While Ross is laden with future college players, he has no plans to play on the college level at SMU in the fall.

“I had no idea anything was riding on me and then I heard the cheers,” Karmely said. “I’d heard we were in trouble, but I am super happy we came through. I’m really proud to be with this team. It’s a group that’s really dedicated and passionate about tennis.

“That this is happening is a little shocking,” he added. “At Ross, we don’t get a lot of attention in sports.”

The Ravens also got wins at second singles from hard-hitting freshman Teddy Brodlieb (6-1, 6-2) and third singles from crafty eighth grader Gabriel De La Maza (6-0, 6-2). Sophomore Nicolas Sanchez and seventh grader Leonardo Carmo won at first doubles (6-2, 6-2) and sophomore Alex Frohlich and junior Simon Aser won at second doubles (6-4, 2-6, 10-7) for Ross.

For BBP (12-3), Shane Duerr won at first singles (6-1, 6-1) and freshmen Nick Byman and Dom Linzie — soccer players who recently picked up tennis — won at third doubles (6-1, 6-0).

Ross coach Marcelo Reda said Ross’ success in singles is because of extensive technique development. “At singles a player has a higher volume of hits than at doubles and the better the technique, the greater chance at success,” he said.

While Reda said winning a title was satisfying because “they are fulfilling our narrative of courage and believing in ourselves,” he was especially happy for Karmely.

“He is a great competitor and leader,” Reda said. “We have a lot of skilled players, but teams win because of their leaders and he is a natural-born leader.”


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