It was familiar territory for Taylor Cosme, as she made her return to the Nassau County girl's championship tennis finals on Sunday afternoon at Eisenhower Park. The Herricks senior had to come from behind after losing a tough first set to Alex Koniaev of Locust Valley and rally to win the next two sets to defend her title and win her second consecutive Nassau County title, 4-6, 6-0, 6-2.
"I was a little nervous in the first set and it was really windy today and that took some getting used to," said the defending champion, Cosme. "In the second set, I figured I had nothing else to lose, so I pumped myself up after I won each point by saying ‘Come on and Let’s Go!’"
All the 'come on's' and 'lets go's ' obviously did the trick. as she turned things around and became the more consistent player on the court.
"I give a lot of credit to Alex because she played really well, but I didn't let her shots effect me as much in the last two sets and I was able to pull out the win," said Cosme.
Koniaev, who was playing with a pulled stomach muscle said that she felt she was not as mentally tough as she could have been.
"I was getting down on myself when I lost points and Taylor was the more consistent player in those last two sets," said Koniaev.
Both girls said they were looking forward to playing States which takes place in Latham, N.Y. from Nov. 1-3.
"Last year, I lost in the quarterfinals, and I think I've matured a lot since then and want to win the title," said Cosme.
Koniaev said, "I'm very much looking forward to States."
Cosme beat Shanice Arthur of Jericho 7-5, 6-2 in the semifinals, and Koniaev beat Ashley Lessen of Wheatley in a thrilling three-setter, as Koniaev came from a 1-5 third set deficit to win 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Arthur will join Cosme and Koniaev at States, as she won the third place match when Lessen was defaulted for lateness.
In the doubles semifinal matches, the first-seeded team of Katie Cirella & Risha Malhotra of Syosset defeated Amanda Foo & Maddie Clinton of Manhasset, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. The second-seeded team of Celeste Matute & Courtney Kowalsky of Oyster Bay beat Juliana Shenker & Bailey Lopez of South Side 6-2, 6-0 to set up a showdown of the number one and two seeds.
The seedings set up for a competitive match, but in the end, Matute & Kowalsky took control of the action defeating the Syosset duo in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 en route to the 2014 Girls Doubles Title.
"We played really well and we work together as a team," said Kowalsky. "We are really excited we won, and are looking forward to States. We are going to try as hard as we can when we get there."
Cirella was gracious in defeat: "Rhea and I are good friends with Courtney & Celeste. They played really well. The games were all very close, it was a good match, but the better team won."
Both teams will head to States, along with Manhasset's Foo & Clinton who defeated South Side’s Shenker & Lopez 6-0, 6-1 in the consolation match.
Credit photos to Keith Kowalsky, Gary Simeone & Matthew Cohen
Taylor Cosme en route to her comeback win to take the 2014 Nassau County Girls Championship
The number two-seeded team of Courtney Kowalsky & Celeste Matute of Oyster Bay were crowned 2014 Nassau County Girls Doubles Champions
Syosset's Risha Malhotra & Katie Cirella take a break during semifinals action
Representing Nassau County at the States in the girl's doubles draw will be the team of Maddie Clinton & Amanda Foo of Manhasset, Celeste Matute & Courtney Kowalsky of Oyster Bay, and Risha Malhotra & Katie Cirella from Syosset
Alex Koniaev of Locust Valley, along with Jericho's Shanice Arthur and Taylor Cosme from Herricks are headed to Latham, N.Y. for the 2014 New York State Championship
<p> Gary Simeone is writing intern/public relations associate for <em>Long Island Tennis Magazine</em>.</p>