Back in 2016, Merri Kelly Hannity won the Nassau County singles title in her freshman year at Cold Spring Harbor. And now a senior, she has repeated that feat, defeating Thea Rabman of Port Washington 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 in this year’s county final.
“It feels really good, and it’s really exciting to be back and playing again,” said Hannity. “I can’t wait to go to states and play there again also.”
Hannity didn’t play in her sophomore and junior seasons for the Seahawks to focus on school and her academics, but returned for her senior year with the desire to win a county title and attempt to capture a state title as well.
In the final against Rabman, Hannity raced out to a 3-0 lead in the opener, and even after Rabman was able to get one of the breaks back and cut the deficit to 2-3, Hannity rattled off the next three games to claim the first set.
Rabman turned her level up in the second set, winning six of the set’s eight games to force the final into a deciding third. However, Hannity would not be denied, and put together a dominant third set to win the match and claim the county title.
Hannity and Rabman both advance to the New York State Public School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Championships. Great Neck North’s Amy Delman defeated Ava Scordo of North Shore 6-2, 6-1 in the consolation match to secure her spot in the state tournament.
In the doubles final, last year’s singles champion Rachel Arbitman partnered with Nyla Gershfeld, and the Hewlett duo defeated Kaya and Kavina Amin of Wheatley 6-1, 6-2.
“After I won the singles championship last year, I knew that I wanted to try to win doubles this year. I wanted a new challenge for myself,” said Arbitman. “Nyla is the number two singles player for our team and a very good player. We have a great relationship and I knew we would have a great chance to succeed.”
Finishing in third place was Andrea Martinez de los Rios and Ellie Ross, who won 6-2, 6-1 over the Great Neck North team of Alyssa Ghassabian and Alina Lyakhov in the consolation match, and both pairings will be heading to Latham to represent Nassau at the state championships.
“I feel that we showed a great deal of strength playing together and had lots of fun on the court,” said Arbitman. “I think that we’re strong as a team, and we will go out there and do our best at states.”