Aayan Mehta of Syosset reacts to a point during the...

Aayan Mehta of Syosset reacts to a point during the Nassau large school boys team tennis final against Roslyn on Wednesday, May 29, 2024 at Hofstra. Credit: Dawn McCormick

The start wasn’t pretty. The finish was picture perfect.

Syosset boys tennis began the defense of it's large school state championship in less than overwhelming fashion. There was an opening day loss to singles-strong Herricks. And 12 days later it fell again, this time to a Roslyn team so formidable from top to bottom that it became the team to beat in Nassau County.

However every season has an arc and Syosset’s has bent upward since that second loss. It won second-half rematches with Herricks and Roslyn and, Wednesday, the arc reached its highest point yet with them hoisting the county's large schools championship trophy once again after a 5-2 win over Roslyn at Hofstra.

“We lost enough top players that this felt like a completely different team, but it was still deep,” Syosset coach Shai Fisher said. “It took much longer for us to sort out who would play where in our lineup and the players bought into the idea of casting individuality aside. It’s a team and it shouldn’t matter your spot or your partner.”

“We lost 4-3 to Roslyn [on April 16] and we felt like almost every match could have gone either way,” senior Spencer Keschner said. “We were intent on not losing again and coach Fisher helped us identify our weaknesses and fix them.”

Syosset (15-2) has won seven of the past nine county titles. It will meet Suffolk champion Commack for the Long Island championship and a trip to the state semifinals at the National Tennis Center in Queens on Monday at Smithtown East High School. Syosset beat Commack, 4-3, for the crown last season en route to the state championship.

Junior Devan Melandro split his two regular season matches against the Bulldogs’ Bartek Dziedziach, losing when Roslyn prevailed 4-3 and winning in the 4-3 victory in the rematch. Dziedziach fought off a pair of match points before Melandro prevailed 6-2, 6-2 at second singles Wednesday.

“When you’ve been in this spot many times, it becomes ritual – mental toughness is [needed],” Malandro said of close matches. “He’s really good and if I don’t finish him there, it’s 5-5 before you know it. It can get that close.”

Sophomore Aayan Mehta – half of the doubles team that clinched the ’23 Long Island championship match – twice fought off deficits to beat Roslyn’s Oliver Samter 6-3, 6-3 at third singles. He trailed 1-3 in each set.

“I know I’m good, but when he put me in those spots I had to step on it,” Mehta said.

The doubles teams of Veyd Trivedi and Grayson Prince and Shiv Chadha and Ansh Jolly posted straight-set wins and Keschner and Jacob Prince bounced back to win after dropping the first set in a tiebreaker for Syosset. Roslyn (14-3) got straight-sets wins from Ethan Solop at first singles and Brian Toh and Kyle Law at second doubles.

“Roslyn is so good – it demands the best of an opponent,” Fisher said. “It’s really rewarding that we were able to win. It’s a special championship. This has been no typical Syosset season.”

BOYS TENNIS

NASSAY COUNTY DIVISION I TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

Finals

(at Hofstra)

Syosset 5 – Roslyn 2

Singles: Ethan Solop (Roslyn) def. Nikhil Shah (Syosset), 6-1, 6-2; Devan Melandro (Syosset) def. Bartek Dziedziach (Roslyn), 6-2, 6-2; Aayan Mehta (Syosset) def. Oliver Samter (Roslyn), 6-3, 6-3. Doubles: Spencer Keschner and Jacob Prince (Syosset) def. Cayden Shen and Justin Sherman (Roslyn), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2; Brian Toh and Kyle Law (Roslyn) def. Ryan Jiang and Terry Moy (Syosset), 6-4, 6-4; Veyd Trivedi and Grayson Prince (Syosset) def. Jake Klein and Darren Shen (Roslyn), 6-3, 6-1; Shiv Chadha and Ansh Jolly (Syosset) def. Logan Karnovsky and Marc Radulescu (Roslyn, 6-0, 6-4).

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