| By Bobby Colton

To Cold Spring Harbor and Syosset, the prospect of facing off against the opposing school was overshadowed by the daunting task of beating the brutal wind that ripped through the tarp-less fences surrounding the courts. It was clear before the match that neither club was as prepared for the battle against Mother Nature as they were for the one against the other school. With playoffs coming up fast, both teams looked forward to an opportunity to secure their standing in the playoff race. The conditions set up a grueling meeting between two strong tennis programs.

When the dust settled on the windy match, Cold Spring Harbor walked away with another 5-2 win. On the surface, the two meetings look relatively the same. Cold Spring Harbor again took all three singles matches. Syosset snagged second and fourth doubles this time, as opposed to third and fourth previously. Upon scratching the surface however, one can see just how close this meeting really was. After five matches had finished, Cold Spring Harbor found themselves on top 3-1, with three matches to play. First singles, second doubles, and third doubles all went down to the wire. In the end, Cold Spring Harbor showed that their first place record spoke for itself, taking two of the three final matches.

Cold Spring Harbor coach Paul Poschmann acknowledged before the match that he had slight concerns over the end of his doubles rotation, excluding the likes of powerhouse first doubles squad Alex Tripiano and Jensen Reiter. His fears manifested themselves in the losses of two doubles matches, but luckily for Cold Spring Harbor, it didn’t affect them this time out. One problem he never could have foreseen was the magnitude of the battle between first singles players Josh Levine and Kevin Katz. Just a few short weeks ago Levine handily defeated Katz, sending him scrambling across the court, but this time was different. Katz used the wind to his advantage and seemed to get into the head of his opponent. However, the underdog Katz eventually came up short in the end. When asked if he tried anything different for this match against Levine, Katz offered that he “had the same strategy, but executed better. I wish I would have done better, but Josh is a great player.” Levine was not quite as happy with his play, but regardless he contended that “a win is a win.”

One of the matches Syosset did take was the second doubles bout between Syosset’s Jordan Zecher/Ian Baranowki team and Cold Spring Harbor’s young John Paris & Conor Mullins team. “After a tough loss to the same team last time, we came back tough,” Zecher noted. As a team, Zecher and Baranowski were at the top of their game, even getting an ace from Zecher. John Paris quickly identified the turning point in the match as when the two were at deuce with the score 5-4 in the first set. “If we won that, momentum would have totally changed,” Paris explained. Zecher and Baranowski took care of business that set, creating an opportunity to get vengeance for their previous defeat. The other Syosset winning duo was Kyle Nudelman and Alex Mandel, who played fourth doubles. “[Our] team motto[s are] ‘win your service games, finish volleys, [and] get W’s’,” the team gleefully stated. Nudelman had his own mantra throughout the game as well, “Lock ‘N Load”. The duo was in prime form today, taking home another win in what is becoming an impressive season for the fourth doubles partners.

With playoffs coming up fast, Cold Spring Harbor is excited for the opportunity to compete at the highest level. After winning two straight LI titles, Cold Spring Harbor was careful to keep their game together and keep playing the way they have been all year. “We’re definitely confident”, noted singles standout Eric Ambrosio after taking down Stephen Peng in consecutive bouts between the two schools. Jensen Reiter sees the team going far because they have “bonded as one” throughout the season. “We can win Long Island champs. The teams are playing well right now so it looks good for us”, commented Josh Levine after watching his team put the finishing touches on Syosset. Doubles player Alex Fontini was quick to applaud his coach for the team’s success. “Paul Poschmann is one of the greatest leaders to ever live, and it’s hard to imagine a season without him”. While admittedly a bit of an exaggeration on the leadership of Poschmann, his point is well taken in that the coach clearly has a firm grip on the team, already having helped his kids win consecutive titles, and looking for a third.

Syosset is also looking forward to their chance to compete in the playoffs this year. “Once you get into the playoffs anything can happen,” reasoned Syosset Coach Shai Fisher. “We’ve been successful so far, so we want to finish off strong. We gotta take care of business our last two matches.” Singles player Jacob Mishkin also revels in the chance to play in the playoffs. “We are excited,” he put simply, apparently struggling to tap into his true excitement after taking a harsh loss. The young Syosset team is looking towards the future, with this playoff appearance functioning as a great stepping stone to new levels of success in the future. Katz offered positive endorsement of his team, saying “We gotta keep our heads up and play our best matches.” Should Syosset continue to play like they did against Cold Spring Harbor today, they are sure to find success, creating the possibility of yet a third match between these two clubs, this time, for a title. 

Bobby Colton

<p>Bobby Colton is a student at Syosset High School who covers the Long Island tennis scene. &nbsp;</p>