| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

In 2012, for the fourth consecutive year, Nassau County Champion Syosset High School Girls Tennis team defeated Suffolk County Champion Half Hollow Hills East to win the Long Island Championship. This was the fifth straight Long Island title for Syosset and they are one of the favorites again this year.

Syosset will return with a strong roster, looking to stay on top, but this year, they will be without New York State Champion Vivian Cheng. They will be challenged this year by Port Washington, Garden City and Manhasset. In Suffolk, Half Hollow Hills East is the defending champion. They will be tough to beat this year as well. Their top challengers are led by rival Half Hollow Hills West, along with Walt Whitman who both finished last year with only two losses.

Top returning players to watch in 2013:

►Morgan Herrmann (Sophomore) & Brittany Burke (Senior) of Garden City High School: In 2011, Morgan Herrmann finished second in the Nassau County Singles Tournament. Last year, Herrmann along with Brittany Burke, were the runner-ups at Nassau County Doubles Championships. The duo returns to a strong Garden City team looking to take the next step this year.

►Lauren Livingston (Senior) of Port Washington High School: In 2012, the duo of Lauren Livingston & Emma Brezel finished third in the Nassau County Doubles draw. This year, Brezel is off to college, but Livingston returns hoping for a successful close to her high school career.

►Alexa Graham (Sophomore) of Garden City High School: In 2012, Alexa Graham won the Nassau County Singles Title and then finished third in the State Championships. She is only a sophomore, but seems poised for another run at the State title.

►Katie Cirella (Junior) of Syosset High School: Katie Cirella returns to lead Syosset in their charge for a fifth consecutive Long Island Championship. Last year, Cirella played in Counties with Rithika Reddy and the duo finished fourth in the Nassau County Doubles Championships. With Syosset having lost a few key players, Cirella will be counted on even more heavily this year in their title defense.

►Vanessa Scott (Junior) of Half Hollow Hills East High School: Vanessa Scott finished second in the Suffolk County Singles Championships in 2012. With last year’s winner having graduated, Scott has a good chance to take the next step this year and win the Suffolk County title.

►Allison Huber (Senior) of Half Hollow Hills East High School: Along with her partner Amanda Luper, Allison Huber finished third in last year’s Suffolk County Doubles Tournament. Luper has graduated, but Huber returns to a strong Hills East squad.

►Bridget Harding (Senior) of Northport High School: In 2011, Bridget Harding, along with her sister Mickey Harding, won the Suffolk County Doubles Championship before losing in the New York State Quarterfinals. Going into her senior season, Bridget returns to Northport hoping to finish her high school career on a high note.

Additional players to watch in 2013 include:

►Nicole Koskovolis of Manhasset High School
►Taylor Cosme of Herricks High School
►Liz Kallenberg of Port Washington High School
►Ally Linder of Port Washington High School
►Rhea Malhotra of Syosset High School

During this fall on Long Island, the girls high school season will be going strong. The talent level is high and the match-ups will be competitive. High school tennis parents and just fans of junior tennis should try to make it out to any matches they can. Some key dates have already been announced:

►For Nassau County, tryouts begin Monday, Aug. 26
►For Nassau County, the first matches begin Thursday, Sept. 12
►The Nassau County Championships will take place the weekend of Oct.19-20
►The 2013 State Tournament will be held Friday-Monday, Nov. 1-4
►Events in Suffolk will be forthcoming and available online at LongIslandTennisMagazine.com.