Two of Suffolk County’s best teams met on Tuesday afternoon as Commack traveled to Half Hollow Hills East in a key League 1 matchup, and it was the Thunderbirds of Hills East who made the early season statement with a 6-1 victory.
Commack, the defending county champions, took the early lead as Emily Tannenbaum defeated Alexis Huber 6-2, 6-0 at first singles.
But that would prove to be the only victory for the Cougars on Tuesday. Soon after Tannenbaum’s win, Janelle Chen won 6-3, 6-3 over Victoria Pensiero at second singles, and the first doubles duo of Ariana Malik and Julia Raziel beat Emma Matz and Julia Kinalis 6-1, 6-4 at first doubles to help put Hills East in front.
“We set the point up for each other, and communicated a lot in between points,” Raziel said of the win. “We tried inching over towards the middle on our volleys to get in and finish the point quickly, and I think that helped.”
Julia Raziel sets up a volley during her and Ariana Malik's straight-sets win at first doubles.
Hills East would go on to win the four other flights in the match to round out the 6-1 win in what was a rematch of the 2015 Suffolk County final.
With the win, the Thunderbirds improve to 4-0 and have now won 26 of the 28 total matches they have played in those four victories.
Janelle Chen won her second singles match to help lead Hills East to a win on Tuesday.
“We’re off to a good start,” said Hills East Head Coach Tom Depelteau. “A bulk of the season lies ahead, but this helps our confidence going forward. I see that they’re growing, and they get better with each match. If that continues, we’ll be dangerous.”