For the second year in a row, Long Island reigned supreme up at the New York State Championships in Latham, N.Y. this past weekend, as both singles and doubles champions hailed from Long Island.
In doubles, the Oyster Bay duo of Courtney Kowalsky and Celeste Matute repeated as state champions, running through the tournament without dropping a set, and defeating Louina Campos and Vanessa Caino of Urusuline 6-3, 6-1 in the final.
The two become the first doubles team from Long Island to repeat as state champions since Amy Chen and Alexandra Kobishyn of Lynbrook did it in 1998 and 1999.
“We practiced a lot, and we knew what was coming playing in the state tournament,” Kowalsky said on using their experience this time around. “We used that experience to prepare ourselves this time around.”
“The key for us is that we play together all the time,” added Matute. “We’ve been doing this for such a long time, and we have a great bond on and off the court that really helps us.”
Oyster Bay's Courtney Kowalsky and Celeste Matute celebrate after winning second straight state title.
A three-peat won’t be in the cards for the Oyster Bay pair as Matute will be graduating next spring, but Kowalsky, a junior, will look to get back there herself next year.
In singles, Nassau County champion Kseniya Zonova of Hewlett continued her excellent tennis she had played throughout the fall, losing just one set in Latham, culminating in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Suffern’s Sydney Kaplan in the final.
“Every match I played better and better,” said Zonova. “I was always trying to improve point to point, and just get better each match.”
Kseniya Zonova rips a forehand during the New York State championships.
Zonova only moved to Hewlett from Ukraine about six months ago, but now already has a Nassau County and New York State championship to her name.
“I’m so excited, it means a lot to me,” Zonova added. “It’s what I wanted to be when I started playing this year.”
The junior is the first singles champion from Nassau County since Syosset’s Vivian Chang in 2012.
Nassau County was well represented in both the third place matches as well. Cold Spring Harbor eighth-grader Merri Kelly Hannity finished in third place, defeating Mercy’s Julia Andreach in the consolation match.
Merri Kelly Hannity sizes up a backhand during her run in Latham.
“I’m happy, it feels good,” said Hannity. “I felt that I played pretty well throughout the tournament. I thought my forehand was good and really helped me.
I’m going to improve and work harder so I can go further next year. Hopefully this experience can help me.”
Manhasset’s Amanda Foo and Lia Frankis finished in third after defeating Pittsford Mendon’s Joyce Luo and Liza Pinchman in the third place match.
“I’m very happy with the way we played,” said Frankis. “To get third place is amazing.”
Lia Frankis fires a serve during the doubles tournament. Her and Foo finished in third place.
It was a fantastic run for the two girls who had just started playing doubles together a couple of weeks ago.
“I had been playing first doubles and Amanda had been playing first singles,” added Frankis. “The Thursday before counties, we decided to play together. We’ve known each other for four years now and we each know how the other one plays, so we balance each other out.”
“We both help each other out mentally,” added Foo. “Lia has more doubles experience, and during counties we figured out different strategies to help each other out, and it just worked out.
It feels amazing. I didn’t expect to get this far!”
The performance at states capped off a wonderful year for the Manhasset program, who went undefeated this season and won its second consecutive Nassau County championship.
“We have a phenomenal team over at Manhasset,” said Frankis. “We really value our tennis players and every player that we have, we are strong throughout our whole lineup. And putting us together and going this far in this tournament really shows that.”
In addition, Foo was honored with the Section VIII Sportsmanship Award.
“Amanda represents Section VIII, we couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Nassau County Girls Tennis Coordinator Shai Fisher. “She is a model citizen on the court and the level of care she exhibits off the court to the rest of the section is outstanding. She really exemplifies what a student-athlete should be.”
Manhasset's Amanda Foo was honored with the Section VIII Sportsmanship Award.
Suffolk County was also well-represented at the state tournament. In singles, Commack’s Kimberly Liao and Half Hollow Hills East’s Stephanie Chikvashvili reached the quarterfinals, and Danah Han and Mina Sarcevic of Half Hollow Hills West and Olivia Faulhaber and Mikayla Goria reached the second-round in doubles action.
Huntington’s Emily Shutman and William Floyd’s Lisa Lin and Kaitlin Hibbert also competed in the tournament.
For full results from all the action in Latham this past weekend, Click Here.
Credit all photos to Keith Kowalsky