Through the first six flights of the Suffolk County Girls’ Small School Championship on Wednesday afternoon, Bayport-Blue Point and The Ross School were all tied up at three matches each. Thus, the county championship would come down to one court: first singles.
Bayport-Blue Point’s Emilia Romano had secured the first set against Emmy Winter of The Ross School and was up a break in the second set when she noticed all the spectators gather by her court at Casamento Park in Bay Shore. On one of the changeovers, she asked her coach, Keith Scharf, what the overall team score was.
“I wasn’t going to tell her the score, but she asked and wanted to know,” said Scharf. “I told her it was 3-3, and from there she really brought it.”
Rather than hide away from the pressure, Romano embraced it. She played some of her best tennis to pull away and close out her match 7-6(5), 6-3 and clinch the county title for the Phantoms for a second straight season.
Bayport-Blue Point's Emilia Romano clinched the Suffolk County Small School Championship with her win at first singles on Wednesday.
“I was just really trying to finish the points when I could, but not rush anything,” said Romano. “I knew there was pressure and the match came down to our court, but I tried to play through it. It was tough, but I am glad I was able to pull through.”
On a chilly and windy afternoon, the conditions proved to be tough for tennis. To neutralize the wind, Romano changed up some of her tactics.
“She played really smart tennis, the wind was tough today and she used her slice as a weapon, more than she normally does,” Scharf added. “She combined it with her power, and just played great tennis.”
Bayport-Blue Point’s other three victories came from Scarlett Kingston at second singles, Danielle Oleksiak at fourth singles, and the first doubles tandem of Grace Blanchard and Emilia Romano’s older sister, Ella.
“We had an amazing team last year, but I knew we had good players on the team again this year and that we could do this,” added Emilia Romano, whose younger sister, Evie, plays second doubles. “My older sister is a senior on the team, and that really helps not only me but the whole team because she is such a great leader.”
The Phantoms now return to the Long Island Championship for a second straight season, and hope to come away victorious this time around.
“This was a really tough Ross team, and all the credit in the world to them. This was a difficult match,” said Scharf. “We’re excited to go back to the Long Island Championship and can’t wait to play it.”