| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

With the summer winding down and the start of school on the horizon, the high school girls tennis season will get underway. The girls of Nassau and Suffolk Country are ready to get back onto the courts in hopes of having a successful year.

Last season saw girls from Long Island dominate the New York tennis landscape statewide, with a strong showing at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) State Championship. Both the singles state champion, Ester Chikvashvili from Half Hollow Hills East, and doubles champs, Celeste Matute & Courtney Kowalsky from Oyster Bay, came from Long Island and represented both counties.

In Nassau County team play, Manhasset captured the Nassau Conference I title, Friends Academy won the Conference II title and Glen Cove took home the Conference III championship. William Floyd upended Half Hollow Hills East for the Suffolk County championship.

Nassau County
The layout of the Nassau County girls season will be a little different this season compared to years past, as a new playoff format will be introduced. Similar to how Suffolk County crowns its champion, Nassau will have a tournament at the end of the regular season, with teams from all three Conferences combined to determine the Nassau County Champion.

Nassau County players to watch
►Amanda Foo, Manhasset High School
►Alex Koniaev, Locust Valley High School
►Courtney Kowalsky, Oyster Bay High School
►Ashley Lessen, The Wheatley School
►Celeste Matute, Oyster Bay High School
►Emma Rosenberg, Port Washington High School
►Morgan Wilkins, Friends Academy

Nassau County teams to watch
The Manhasset Indians won its first conference title in 25 years last fall, defeating Roslyn to win the program’s first championship since 1988. The Indians posted a record of 15-1, and with top players such as Amanda Foo and Madeline Clinton returning this season, Manhasset is one of the favorites to compete for the Nassau County Championship.

The Roslyn Bulldogs will be motivated this season, following its loss to Manhasset in the Conference I Championship last season. Despite the loss of Melissa Fuchs, Roslyn’s young core should be ready to answer the bell this season. Look for Roslyn to be a factor in the jam-packed Conference I this season.

Port Washington
Port Washington is looking to take the next step from a season that saw it reach the county semifinals before losing to Roslyn. The Vikings will see key players such as Emma Rosenberg and Brittany Polevikov return, and will look to be among the top of the food chain in Conference I.

Friends Academy
The Quakers of Friends Academy captured the Conference II-A championship last year, defeating Great Neck South. The win was huge for the program, and it will look to build on that this fall. Friends returns singles players Morgan Wilkins and Calista Cha, and Marina Hilbert, who played doubles. With a strong team returning, Friends Academy moves up to Conference I this season.

Glen Cove
Glen Cove enjoyed a fantastic run to the Conference III finals last season. After a 9-3 record, the Knights upended Plainedge and undefeated East Meadow, before beating undefeated Calhoun for the Conference Title. The Knights return top singles players Trinity Chow and Lauren Rizzo, and with the new playoff format, will have a chance at dethroning the best that Conference I has to offer.

Nassau County key dates

Tuesday, September 8 First Match of Season
Wednesday, October 14 Seeding Meeting
Saturday-Sunday, October 17-1 Nassau County Individual Tournament at Eisenhower Park
Monday-Sunday, October 19-25 Nassau County Individual Tournament Rain Dates (as needed)
Friday-Monday, October 30-November 2 NYSPHSAA State Tournament


Suffolk County
Suffolk County players to watch
Jacqueline Bukzin, Eastport-South Manor High School
Stephanie Chikvashvili, Half Hollow Hills East High School
Alexa Goetz, Harborfields High School
Denise Lai, Ward Melville High School
Courtney Provan, Half Hollow Hills West High School
Emily Shutman, Huntington High School

Suffolk County teams to watch
William Floyd High School
The defending Suffolk County Champions will look to repeat this season, but will do so without some key players from a year ago. The Colonials snapped Hills East’s 69-match winning streak in the county final, and despite some losses, Floyd returns key players such as Lisa Lin, and Brooke and Emily Fernandez.

Half Hollow Hills West High School
Half Hollow Hills West High School reached the Suffolk County Quarterfinals last season, anchored by Suffolk County Individual Champion Courtney Provan. As a sophomore, Provan competed at the State Championships and will look to build on her success in her junior campaign. Also returning for Hills West will be Dana Han, who reached the State Championships in doubles. All-League players Anjali Maheshwari, Jessica Lustig, McKenzie Udell, Mina Sarcevic and Olivia Nakhjavan will all be back as well to add depth to a strong Hills West lineup.

Eastport-South Manor High School
Eastport-South Manor had a down season a year ago, finishing at the bottom of the League VIII standings, but could be a sleeper team to watch out for this fall. Led by All-State player Jacqueline Bukzin and All-Division player Cassie Rivera, this could be the year the Sharks of Eastport-South Manor break through.

Ward Melville High School
Ward Melville enjoyed a fantastic season a year ago, going a perfect 12-0 in the regular season before falling to eventual champions William Floyd in the semifinals, the squad’s only defeat on the season. The Patriots return a chunk of its roster from a year ago, including Keren Collins, Megan Falvey, Denise Lai and Emily Winston, and will look to go even further in the county tournament this time around.

Islip High School
Islip High School was one of the better teams in Suffolk County last season, but ran into a tough Commack team in the County Tournament. The Buccaneers went 14-2 overall on the year, and will look to repeat as League III regular season champions. Ashley Mannetta, Caroline Darcy and Nicole Arey, three All-County players from 2014, will be back for Islip this fall and will look to use their experience and talent to build on last year’s success.

Suffolk County key dates

Tuesday, October 13 Division I (Finals) at Smithtown East
Tuesday, October 13 Division II (Finals) at East Islip
Tuesday, October 13 Division III (Finals) at Patchogue-Medford
Tuesday, October 13 Division IV (Finals) at William Floyd High School
Friday, October 16 Suffolk County Team Playoff Tournament Begins
Saturday, October 17 Section Individual Championships (Rounds 1 & 2 at William Floyd)
Monday, October 19   Section Individual Championships (Semifinals & Finals at William Floyd)
Saturday, October 24 Suffolk County Team Championship
Friday-Monday, October 30-November 2 NYSPHSAA State Tournament