| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff


Friends Academy entered the 2023 season more motivated than ever. Following a difficult loss to Wheatley in the Nassau County Small School Championship a year ago, the Quakers were determined to go at least one step further this spring.


And on Monday afternoon on the tennis courts at Hofstra University, it did just that, defeating last year’s champion Wheatley 7-0 to claim this year’s county title.

“From the beginning of the season, we had a tight group of guys who always supported each other throughout,” said Friends head coach Owen Kassimir. “I told them that they were a stronger team than last year, and they always carried that champion’s mentality.”

That mentality proved to be a huge factor in Monday’s victory as a focused Friends Academy team was relentless all afternoon long. William Bohner got the scoring started for his team as he posted a 6-0, 6-0 victory at second singles.

Not long after, senior captain Alistair Wright delivered a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles to bolster the Friends advantage.

Friends Academy senior Alistair Wright won at third singles on Monday afternoon

“My strategy coming in was to have controlled aggression, my goal was to make my opponent move around, stay mentally focused, and put the ball away when it needed to be put away, not just in random moments,” said Wright. “There was a lot of mental concentration that went into it.”

After Vedant Rawat & Vir Singh won 6-2, 6-2 at third doubles, the Quakers were within one win of clinching the county title.  That win would come on the next court over as the second doubles pairing of Bryan Bin & Ryan Chang sealed their team’s championship after finishing their 6-0, 6-0 win.

“It’s about the chemistry and energy,” Bin said of the reason for the success of not only his doubles team but also the team as a whole. “Not just the energy on our court, but also lifting up everybody on the team, supporting and cheering for the other courts. That’s what makes high school tennis special. When you are out here with your friends and teammates, it goes a long way. It definitely helps lift us up while playing.”

Bryan Bin & Ryan Chang celebrate a point during their second doubles victory


Chang added:

“Super proud of the team, last year we were this close to making the Long Island Championship. But we got it done this year, and we’re looking forward to playing in that and hopefully moving on to states.”

Rounding out the scoring for Friends was a 6-2, 6-3 win from Danny Duke & Zachary Cohen at first doubles, a 7-6(4), 6-0 victory from Henry Koelmel & Ali Sayan at fourth doubles, and a 6-3, 6-4 triumph from Russell Notaris at first singles.


Friends now prepares for the Long Island Championship against Ross School, the Suffolk County champions, on Thursday afternoon at Hofstra University.

“I’m incredibly proud of this team,” added Wright, one of the team’s co-captains and its lone senior. “This is my third year on the team and I’ve seen our program grow so much. Last year was a tough season, but we got so much better coming into this year, everyone put in the work in the offseason, and we gained some new players. Last year, life gave us lemons, and now we’re bleeding lemonade.”