| By Matthew Cohen
Photo credit: Matthew Cohen

In Conference I, the Locust Valley Falcons looked to gain revenge against the Syosset Braves in both the final match of the season for both teams. Syosset previously defeated Locust Valley 4-3 in a home match back in September. This was a match that had no playoff implications, as both teams have already been eliminated, but the match ended up serving a bigger meaning, as coach Larry Levane of Syosset announced this would be his last season coaching the Braves and first singles player and senior Katie Cirella was playing in her final match as member of the Braves. Levane will retire after a solid 29 year run, with seven Nassau County titles and four New York State Championships on his resume.

“The girls were so wonderful and easy to coach … the good feeling of it all is something I will miss” said Coach Larry Levane.

Locust Valley started strong, winning all three singles matches, but Syosset came back on the strength of their doubles game, taking all four doubles matches to again win 4-3 in the rematch.

The showcase match came at first singles, as Alex Koniaev of Locust Valley took on Cirella in her final match with Syosset. Cirella fought hard, but Koniaev prevailed 6-4, 6-1 to finish the season with a perfect 13-0 record.

“In the beginning, I was struggling because she’s a good player, but I started focusing more and fought through.” said Koniaev.

Koviaev’s next stop is Nassau County Individual Championships this weekend. Cirella was visibly upset about seeing her career at Syosset come to a close. After the match, she recalled her best memories of winning the Long Island Championship during her high school career and said, "I am going to miss everything about playing here, but most of all my friends on the team."

She will team with Risha Malhotra in the County Doubles Tournament this weekend.

Second singles Anastasia Koniaev of Locust Valley defeated Risha Malhotra 6-0, 6-4 and finishes with an impressive 13-1 mark on the season. Senior and third singles player Nitsa Nstasi of Locust Valley completed her career with a 6-0, 6-1 win and 11-1 mark on the season, finishing 39-1 over the past three seasons.

Tal Bodner & Marisa Levine of Syosset defeated Abbie Linnemeyer & Emily Friedman of Locust Valley 6-2, 6-2 at first doubles, while Sonja Bhaumi & Rachael Settle defeated Giuila Maida & Melissa Cooney of Locust Valley 6-0, 6-4 at second doubles. In third doubles, it was the Syosset duo of Katie Majoy & Mallie Feldman who were victorious over Sara Orellana & Jessica Cameron 6-0, 6-4, and in the deciding match at fourth doubles, Joanna Baranowski & Erica Sowhney defeated Lindsey Guadagni & Ava Skelly to seal the match for Syosset.

With the win, the Braves finish the 2014 season at 7-7, while the Falcons wrap up their 2014 campaign with a 4-9 record.

Credit all photos to Matthew Cohen




Sonja Bhaumi & Rachael Settle of Syosset in second doubles action







Tal Bodner of Syosset (pictured above) teamed with Marisa Levine to defeat Abbie Linnemeyer & Emily Friedman of Locust Valley 6-2, 6-2










Anastasia Koniaev of Locust Valley in her win over Katie Cirella











Gabi Sklar and Lauren White of Syosset pause for a photo




Matthew Cohen

<p>Matthew Cohen is director of business development for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached by phone at (516) 409-4444, ext. 306 or e-mail&nbsp;<a href="mailto:matt@usptennis.com">matt@usptennis.com</a>.</p>