Every time Rose Hayes steps on the court she knows that she’s going to get her opponent's best shot.
Saturday morning at Shoreham-Wading River it was Longwood’s Victoria Matos who gave her best effort to knock off Hayes, the two-time defending Suffolk girls tennis champion, in the final of the individual championship.
But as has been the result each year since 2018, Hayes prevailed, using her all-around game to hold off Matos, 6-3, 6-1, and claim her third title.
"She was definitely more aggressive than some of the other players I’ve played recently," said Hayes, a junior at Westhampton. "You can’t give anything to her."
Matos pushed the pace in the first set, seemingly always attacking. The pair exchanged two breaks each early in the first set until Hayes was able to hold to go up 5-2.
"It’s always very stressful for me when you come back and you’re expected to win and everybody is out to get you," Hayes said.
Hayes showed off her defense early in the match before turning up the pressure herself late to finish off the second set and the match.
"She runs cross country during the offseason and that helps her a lot," Westhampton coach John Czartosieski said. "Today she was on defense more than she was on offense and that was an asset that she needed to rely on."
Hayes had defeated Maria Perez of Middle Country, 6-0, 6-0, in the semifinals Friday.
"Rose’s endurance and her physical size has improved over the years and that’s helped her game," Czartosieski said. "She didn’t play her best but she still managed to win."
Tannenbaum sisters win doubles title
It was a family affair in the doubles final as Commack sisters Emily and Kady Tannenbaum defeated Katelyn and Julia Stabile of Westhampton, 6-0, 6-0.
The Tannenbaum sisters did not drop in their four matches in the tournament.
"The chemistry we have together is stronger than we could have with any other partner," Emily said. "We spend so much time together, work together well, communicate well and just have a lot of fun on the court together."
Both sisters had previously reached a county final as singles players, with Kady, a freshman, doing it in 2019, and Emily, a senior, advancing in 2018.
"We wanted to play at states together but even though there isn’t a state tournament, getting to play counties together was really fun," Kady said.
"It’s been a pleasure and an honor to coach players at this level," Commack coach Jackie Clark said. "They have represented Commack incredibly and they did it with their game. They let their rackets do the talking."