Leonardo Carmo, serving, and Eduardo Menezes of Ross compete in the...

Leonardo Carmo, serving, and Eduardo Menezes of Ross compete in the Suffolk boys tennis small school finals on Friday, May 24, 2024 at Smithtown East. Credit: Elizabeth Sagarin

It was less than a week ago that Ross’ Eduardo Menezes rolled through the field to become Suffolk County’s boys tennis singles champion. He was told Friday morning there would be a new play for that day’s county small schools championship match against Bayport-Blue Point — he would be paired with Leonardo Carmo at first doubles. The chess match that is team tennis was on.

Menezes and Carmo had never played together but adapted quickly and defeated the Phantoms’ Shane Duerr and Matt Decatur, 6-3, 6-2, in what proved a critical victory as Ross defeated Bayport-Blue Point, 4-3, at Smithtown East. The first four matches to finish were all Ravens victories, Teddy Brodlieb’s 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles being the clincher.

Ross (15-0) is county champion for a second straight year and will be seeking its first Long Island crown on Tuesday against Nassau champion Friends Academy at Smithtown East. It’s a rematch of the 2023 Long Island championship, won 5-0 by Friends.

Asked about that loss, Carmo replied, “Friends had amazing players and that day they were better, but really, we were happy with what we accomplished. We’re more prepared this time and we have a team that can win it.”

The Ravens’ three singles entries — Henry Tietz, Jagger Cohen and Brodlieb — lost an aggregate three games in winning six sets. BBP got doubles wins from the teams of Aidan Apicella and Nicholas Byman, Luke Jensen and Dom Linzie and Declan Schug and Eric Swinkin.

“This ended up close but this team is still hungry,” Ravens captain Alex Frohlich said. Added Cohen: “This team has wanted a shot at Friends all season — you hear it daily.”

Ross’ recent rise to Suffolk tennis prominence has come with a number of lessons. For three seasons, the Ravens have been laden with talent but occasionally been outmaneuvered by teams that spread their singles talent through the doubles teams. Ross third-year coach Marcelo Reda said, “I’ve learned the system. I’m doing some things that have been done to us, like moving Menezes]. You have to play the game.”

Ross is a private school and not only has local students but also ones from Germany, Brazil and Mexico. Like in other parts of the state where parochial schools play in the public leagues, a win like this doesn’t always land well.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Ross tennis program — not only do these coaches put an incredible product on the court, but these players handle themselves with class and integrity off the court as well,” Bayport-Blue Point coach John Selvaggio said. “But I am willing to say the quiet part out loud. The Ross School represents three continents and Bayport-Blue-Point represents three square miles. This will be the second year in a row that the Long Island Region of the New York State Public School Tennis Championship will be represented by two private schools. Someone needs to make it make sense.”

Friends wins Nassau title

The Friends Academy boys tennis team dropped only two sets over five matches as it rolled past Wheatley to a 5-0 victory in the final of the Nassau Small Schools Championships at Hofstra.

Will Bohner rallied from losing the first set to score a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win in singles. Bryan Bin and Hudson Lee stumbled early as well but recovered for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph in doubles.

Friends Academy (7-9) is county champion for a second straight year and is seeking a second straight Long Island title against Ross Tuesday.

“This team has really started to mesh together with the higher stakes this past week,” Quakers coach Owen Kassimir said. “The match against Ross is going to be a fight, but we have the talent to win.”

Russell Notaris dropped only one game in winning his singles match and the doubles teams of Zack Cohen and Danny Duke and Vedant Rawat and Henry Koelmel both won their matches without dropping a set.


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