Syosset boys tennis players, from left, Veyd Trivedi, Jacob Prince,...

Syosset boys tennis players, from left, Veyd Trivedi, Jacob Prince, Ryan Jiang and Nikhil Shaht celebrate after clinching the Division I state title after their victory over Mamaroneck in the finals of the NYSPHSAA team championship at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows on Friday, June 7, 2024. Credit: James Escher

For the better part of an hour on Friday, it appeared as though Mamaroneck might just have enough to dethrone Syosset, the defending NYSPHSAA Division I boys team tennis champion. The first two to finish in the seven-match contest went in the books as singles wins for the Tigers. And then Syosset started to ring up doubles victories like dominos falling.

Spencer Keschner and Jacob Prince completed a rout at first doubles and, 20 minutes later, Vyed Trivedi and Terrence Moy succeeded in holding off a second-set comeback for a win at third doubles. It was maybe a minute after that when Shiva Chadha and Ansh Jolly put fourth doubles in the win column.

And, finally, the last domino fell when Aayan Mehta and Ryan Jiang won the last of six straight games following a first-set tiebreaker win. Syosset had swept the quartet of doubles matches before the last match was completed to post a 4-2 victory at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center in Queens for a second straight state title.

Syosset (18-2) didn’t bring down Mamaroneck with big guns. It drowned them with its depth.

“We could tell what was happening and it was so great to be the clincher,” Mehta said. “Syosset is known for deep doubles lineups, and we knew that if we wanted to win a New York State championship [and] run it back-to-back, we’d have to win doing what we’re good at.”

Jiang agreed there was a sense on Syosset’s team it would need to win every doubles match and added, “The pressure was on every single player, all the way down to fourth doubles, that we’d have to perform. Everybody played out of their minds and we got it done.”

Syosset reached the title match with a 7-0 semifinal victory over Bethlehem that included straight-set singles wins by Nikhil Shah, Devan Melandro and Grayson Prince.

Syosset coach Shai Fisher had all the pieces for this from the start, but had to try a slew of different lineups to find one that would click like this. During the search there were stumbles — two losses among the first six matches — then the tumblers clicked into place.

And what worked for Syosset was as much about how the pairings worked together as the skills within them. Syosset doubles teams were 12-0 in the state tournament and singles players Shah and Melandro teamed to win the county individual doubles title.

Fisher said his message to the team entering play Friday was to lean on their chemistry.

“I told them ‘Whoever is a favorite or not a favorite according to [ratings] doesn’t matter at this point [because] we've been we've been playing our best tennis . . . since the midpoint of the year on — ride the momentum all the way through,’” Fisher said.

“This wasn’t a typical Syosset season because we lost matches early,” senior captain Keschner said. “This championship is even sweeter than the last.”

Friends Academy loses in final

Friends Academy came up short against Bronxville in the Division II title match for the second straight season, falling 3-1 with one of the five matches still going.

The Quakers (9-10) raced past Olean for a 5-0 semifinal victory highlighted by Zack Cohen and Danny Duke’s 6-0, 6-0 win at second doubles. The clearest road to victory in the final, however, required a pair of wins among three contests: second singles, first doubles and second doubles. And Friends won none of those.

The Quakers’ lone win came in straight sets at third doubles from junior Henry Koelmel and seventh-grader Hudson Lee.

“I knew it would be uphill, a battle, and it was close,” Friends Academy coach Owen Kassimir said. “We played well. The other [team] was just too strong.”

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