For the first time since 2013, the boys team tennis champions from Nassau and Suffolk counties convened for one final match.
Syosset defeated Half Hollow Hills East, 6-1, in the Long Island Executive Cup Friday at The Hamlet Golf & Country Club in Commack.
Andre Kirkorian and Yash Samantaray won the deciding match at third doubles, helping Syosset (18-0) sweep doubles play with victories from Preet Rajpal and Adam Canarick and Josh Antell and Jeremy Levine. The Braves, who have won 52 consecutive matches, also received singles victories from Kabir Rajpal, Eli Grossman and Justin Oresky.
“It proves the old ‘who’s better, Nassau or Suffolk,’” said Grossman, Syosset’s junior co-captain, “but I think it also is really effective because when you win the Nassau championship you say is there anything more? Can we play one more match? Everyone wants to play one more.”
The break from championship play was a result of disagreement over rules and singles and doubles formatting, which vary between the two counties, Massapequa coach and USTA Long Island Region representative Mike Pavlides said. Nassau plays three singles and four doubles matches, but Suffolk plays four and three. There also was concern over the lineups not being filled in strength order.
Because teams from both counties were interested in resuming championship play, Pavlides said the USTA was willing to serve as the “vehicle” to create and sponsor the event. He said the expectation is for Section VIII and Section XI to begin governing the match as an official Long Island championship next year.
“We knew that the sport needed it . . . so we worked together to make it happen,” Pavlides said. “This was the perfect way to pilot it to see if there was anything that we missed.”
The location of the match, which will alternate between counties each year, will determine which county’s singles and doubles format is used, and coaches Shai Fisher of Syosset and Tom Depelteau of Hills East agreed to arrange their lineups in strength order.
Players from both sides expressed their gratitude for getting the opportunity to play one more match. For the Braves, their defeat of Roslyn on Tuesday gave them a third straight Nassau title. But this was the first time during the streak that they have played the Suffolk champion.
“You finish and you see the guys, your neighbors in Suffolk, and you just want to play them, especially because some of us know each other from tournaments,” Kirkorian said. “I think it adds extra motivation to keep striving for (more) because now there’s a next level, which is very good.”
Hills East’s Abhinav Srivastava agreed. This was the first time he got to play longtime friend Neel Rajesh in a high school match. In three meetings on the USTA circuit, Srivastava said he had never won. He earned Hills East’s only point with a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 10-6 victory at first singles.
“We were just happy to play this tournament,” Srivastava said. “We were lucky we got to play at this beautiful place.”