When Westhampton’s Rose Hayes had her serve broken early in the second set of Monday’s Suffolk girls tennis final, she knew the next game would be the most important of the tournament.
As she has done throughout the season, she regrouped and quickly broke back to stay in control. She then won four of the final five games to close out Commack’s Kady Tannenbaum and win her second straight title, 6-0, 6-2.
“It’s a huge deal if its 2-2 instead of 3-1, especially in the second set because it could go either way,” Hayes said. “It was super important to get ahead of it before things could spiral out of control.”
The sophomore didn’t have to worry much during her five tournament matches as she dropped only three total games.
“I’ve become more aggressive and learned to stay calm,” she said. “It can get really anxious in high school tennis when you only have one try and then you have to wait until the next year.”
Hayes defeated Kady’s sister Emily in the final last season.
“I’m pretty good friends with both her and her sister,” Hayes said. “It’s kind of awkward but even though I never played her before I knew how she played.”
Hayes' all-around game has continued to improve, and Westhampton coach John Czartosieski noted he’s seen her develop more power.
“I think she’s hitting a little harder and the depth of her shots has improved,” Czartosieski said. “She’s always moved well, but I think she’s moving even better than last year and she’s gained a little more muscle.”
Hayes will take those improvements to the state tournament where she will look to improve on last season’s quarterfinal finish. The tournament begins Nov. 2 in Latham.
“There have been big differences this year coming back as the county champion,” Hayes said. “Everyone is always looking at you and expecting you to win so it adds pressure.”
Germano-Rogers win doubles title
Pressure is something that Maddie Germano and Darienne Rogers welcome. The Islip seniors found themselves down a set in the doubles final but knew they were far from out of it.
“It takes us a while to get into the match,” Germano said. “But once we get in a groove and figure things out we know we’re going to finish it out.”
It took a spirited second set tiebreak win and coming back from an early break in the third set for the pair to defeat Jade Eggleston and Kira Kronenberg of Ward Melville, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 to win the title.
They also came back from a set down in the quarterfinals.
“We always go into the second set knowing that it’s our set,” Rogers said. “We just change our mindset a little bit and it changes the way we play.”
“If we lose the first set we automatically know it’s going to be a three-set match,” Germano said.
The finalists, along with Hauppauge’s Andriana Zaphiris and doubles teams Alexis Huber and Skylar Semon of Half Hollow Hills East and Rose Peruso and Jen Curran of Westhampton earned berths into the state tournament.