Teams to watch in Nassau County
Port Washington enters the season with a bit of a chip on its shoulder following a disappointing end to last season. Following up on its Nassau County and Long Island Championship titles the year prior, the Vikings were upset by Hewlett in the county semifinals a year ago. The team returns Thea Rabman at the top of its singles lineup, and with an experienced core of playoff performers behind her, Port Washington will look to rebound in 2019.
The Bulldogs of Hewlett surprised some folks when it made its way into the Nassau County final a year ago, but that won’t be the case this season as the squad enters 2019 with high expectations. Led by New York State Public High School Athletic Association Singles Champion Rachel Arbitman, Hewlett will be eager to make a return trip to the county championship. Despite losing second singles player Gabriela Sciarrota, talented youngster Nyla Gershfeld will be thrust into a bigger role for Hewlett, which should make them a formidable opponent once again.
Great Neck North
Great Neck North will present one of the strongest singles lineups in Nassau County this year which should make it a threat from start to finish this season. Anchored by the return of Amy Delman, who finished in third place in the county tournament for two straight seasons before not playing a year ago, the Blazers will certainly be one of the favorites to get to the County Championship. Alina Lyakhov & Alyssa Ghassabian, who last year played first and second singles, respectively, and teamed up to become an all-state doubles pairing, will move to second and third singles, creating a deep lineup for a Great Neck North team looking to make a lot of noise this season.
Cold Spring Harbor
Cold Spring Harbor always presents a difficult lineup for teams in Nassau County’s Conference I, and that should be the case once again this year. While it loses its top singles player in Maddy Richmond, returning is Nicolette Loeffler, an All-State doubles player and County runner-up from last year, who will return to help give the Seahawks a stout lineup to challenge anybody in Nassau County.
The Roslyn Bulldogs lost a number of key contributors from last year’s team to graduation, but still have a deep lineup of players that will help it make a run in Nassau County’s top conference this year. Sarah Faber returns to anchor the top of the singles lineup and will be followed by Angelina Remnek in the second singles spot, and if its four doubles teams can exhibit the depth it needs to, Roslyn could be a contender later this season.
Nassau County Key Dates (subject to change)
►Monday, Sept. 9: Regular Season Begins
►Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 19-20: Nassau County Individual Championships
►Monday-Friday, Oct. 21-25: Nassau County Team Playoffs
►Saturday-Monday, Nov. 2-4: 2019 NYSPHSAA Championships
Teams to watch in Suffolk County
Westhampton Beach enters the 2019 season with a 17-match winning streak, and has a couple of different titles to defend. The Hurricanes won the Suffolk County Championship and parlayed that into the Long Island Championship, with wins over Commack and Syosset, respectively. Led by Suffolk singles champion and one of the top players in the Section in Rose Hayes, in addition to experienced veterans such as Jen Curran and Rose Peruso, Westhampton Beach will have a target on its back as it looks to repeat this season.
Having lost the Suffolk County Championship a year ago, the Commack Cougars can’t wait to get back to the courts and attempt to get back the finals this season. With the potential return of Emily Tannebaum, a County Singles Finalist last year, and Gabriela Glickstein at the top of the singles lineup, plus a deep doubles lineup with loads of experience, Commack has what it takes to once again be one of the top teams in Suffolk County.
In recent years, Ward Melville has established itself as one of the top teams in Suffolk County, despite not competing in League I. Ward Melville won the Suffolk County Championship and reached the Long Island finals two years ago, but came up short in a hard-fought quarterfinal showdown with Half Hollow Hills East last season. Despite losing top singles player Denise Lai, as well as some other experienced players, senior Jade Eggleston leads the top of the Patriots’ lineup, as Ward Melville looks to be a high seed come playoff time and looks to upend some of Suffolk County’s top teams this fall.
Half Hollow Hills East
Having failed to reach the County Championship a year ago, Suffolk County powerhouse Half Hollow Hills East hopes to return to the place it had become accustomed to reaching. It lost a few seniors to graduation, but returns much of its lineup including County Doubles Champion Alexis Huber, who competes in the singles lineup during the regular season, as well as its first singles player from a year ago, Janelle Chen. The Thunderbirds always have a plethora of talent that feeds into the varsity team, and don’t be surprised if it returns to be one of the best teams in the county in 2019.
The Tornadoes of Harborfields often fly under the radar in Suffolk’s League I, but the team has put together a very nice run over the last few years and will enter the 2019 campaign with high expectations for itself. The team returns its top three singles players—Lauren Hutton, Remi Berlent and Giuliana Farino—which will make it a tough squad to play from start to finish this season. Their talent and varsity experience should help Harborfields make a deep run into the playoffs later this year, and hopefully compete for a County Championship.
Suffolk County Key Dates (subject to change)
►Tuesday, Sept. 3: Regular Season Begins
►Monday-Friday, October 11-15: Suffolk County Individual Division Championships
►Friday-Monday, October 18-21: Suffolk County Individual Section Championships
►Saturday-Monday, Nov. 2-4: 2019 NYSPHSAA Championships
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at email@example.com.