Half Hollow Hills West reigned supreme for the second consecutive year in Suffolk County, defeating cross-town rival Half Hollow Hills East 4-2 on a hot Thursday afternoon to capture the school’s second straight Suffolk championship.
Hills East entered the match at 17-0 and had beaten Hills West twice during the regular season by scores of 4-3, something the Colts did not forget.
“Our team was so pumped to play this one,” said Hills West head coach Kim Langendorfer. “During the season it was sort of touch and go with them, and we lost some close 4-3 matches, but this time they were so determined to make it happen. It’s so hard to come back and repeat, but our guys were ready.”
Langendorfer and her team knew they needed to strengthen its doubles lineups in order to take down Hills East on Thursday, so it moved its first singles player Aziz Rashidzada into first doubles with Dan Rubinowitz, and bumped second singles player Jackson Weisbrot into the first singles flight.
Weisbrot thrived under the pressure. Even after falling behind 0-2 to Abhinav Srivastava in the opening set, the junior won four straight games to go ahead 4-2, and eventually closed out the first set with a forehand winner that struck the net cord and went over on set point.
He continued his strong play in the second set, breaking for a 2-1 lead before going on to the 6-4, 6-2 victory.
“Coming into the match I just felt like if I could be consistent and play my game I’d be able to win,” said Weisbrot, who paired with Rashidzada to win the Suffolk County individual doubles title on Monday. “I was confident in what I’d be able to do if I got my first serves in and didn’t make too many unforced errors.”
Weisbrot used his big forehand to take advantage of some short balls he got in the middle of the court, and played clean, consistent tennis throughout the match.
“He was giving me a lot of shot balls in the middle,” Weisbrot added. “I was able to hit approach shots into the corner and come up to the net.”
Spencer Kirshman and Roham Mathur won 6-4, 6-2 over Adam Stein and Paul Rhee at third doubles and Tyler Nierman knocked off Bradley Weltman at third singles to bring Hills West within one victory of its second straight county title.
That victory would come on the first doubles court, as Rashidzada and Rubinowitz defeated Justin Dubler and Adam Wilck 6-4, 7-6(3) to seal the deal.
“Adam and Justin are great players,” said Rubinowitz. “We were able to capitalize when we got opportunities and took some chances when they came.”
Rashidzada, a senior, has been on the varsity team for six years and knows just how special winning back to back championships is.
“It’s just a surreal feeling knowing we won back to back,” Rashidzada said.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.