If you think of tennis as an individual sport, you may want to stop by a Commack match.
The Commack boys tennis players could be heard shouting support to one another in between points during their individual matches at the Suffolk team boys finals at Floyd Saturday morning. Once a competitor finished his contest, he’d quickly grab water, wipe the sweat out of their eyes before cheering on another teammate.
“You could tell from how loud we were that we wanted this so bad,” senior Andrew Lin said. “It’s been nine years, we have not had a county championship in nine years, we have six seniors this year. We wanted it.”
And the wait is over as No. 2 Commack defeated No. 1 Half Hollow Hills East, 4-2, to win its first Suffolk boys tennis team title since 2009, coach Jimmy Delevante said.
“It’s absolutely huge for us,” Lin said. “We’re always cheering each other on. You’re not out there alone. You know you’re with all your teammates, they’ve got your back and they’re going to cheer you on all the way through the finish.”
No one knows this better than Commack eighth-grader Matt Strogach, who won the clinching match at fourth singles, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“I had nerves but I just tried to block out everybody that was there and stay calm,” Strogach said. “I knew that if I just go for my shots that everything would work out eventually if I stuck to my game plan.”
Once Strogach opened the gate and left the court, he was rushed by his Cougars teammates and the celebration began. Both coaches agreed to stop the second doubles match, which was in a third-set tiebreaker, with the match already decided.
“It’s absolutely incredible that he has so much talent and I think, he’s one of the best fighters on the team,” Lin said about Strogach. “I’ve never seen someone with so much push, so much will. It’s incredible.”
Lin won his second singles match, 6-1, 6-4, and Jake Stadok won, 6-1, 6-2, at third singles for Commack (18-1). Abhinav Srivastava had the lone singles victory for Hills East, 6-4, 6-1, which ends its season 16-2.
Commack’s first doubles tandem of Ryan Schoenfeld and Alec Sydney won, 6-4, 6-0. Delevante credited seniors Sol Yoon and Lin, playing first and second singles, respectively, and winners of the Suffolk doubles championship May 18, for leading the team.
“They couldn’t have wanted this more if they tried to,” Delevante said. “It meant a lot to them and all that extra work they put in during the season culminated to today.”