Quakers will head to the NYSPHSAA Team Championships on June 9
  | By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff


Friends Academy entered Thursday’s Long Island Small School Championship as a confident group. Taking on the Suffolk County champions, Ross School, the Quakers felt as if it were the better team on paper, and wanted to prove that on the court. 

And it did just that. Friends Academy would sweep all five flights on the courts of Hofstra University to claim the Long Island title, and qualify for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Team Championships in two weeks. 

“I tried to make sure I didn’t let my ability to stay mentally focused get away, and wanted to execute the game plan we had,” said Will Bohner, who won 6-1, 6-0 at second singles on Thursday. “I wanted to use my serve to get to his backhand, using my lefty spin to serve out wide and break him down that way. It’s a high pressure match, with lots on the line, so I’m glad I was able to do that.”


Bohner’s victory came soon after the second doubles pairing of Zack Cohen & Danny Duke notched a 6-0, 6-0 win at second doubles, which meant Friends Academy was one win away from the title.

That clinching win would come from Russell Notaris at first singles, who posted a 6-2, 6-1 victory.

Russell Notaris won the clinching match for Friends Academy on Thursday

“I just wanted to get my first serve in there. I know as a lefty my serve can be tough, so I just trusted that,” said Notaris, who understood that his team was one flight away from the title as he prepared to serve out his match. “It’s the Long Island Championship, so everyone is coming in a bit nervous, so my goal in the beginning was just to stay loose, try to get as many balls in play early in the match. The once I got a feel for the ball, I started going for my shots, using my forehand crosscourt and my backhand up the line, and tried to stay consistent.”

Moments later, Bryan Bin closed out his win at third singles, winning 6-2, 6-0, and the first doubles duo of Alistair Wright & Ved Rawaj completed the Friends’ sweep with a 7-5, 6-2 triumph.

One of the biggest challenges for Friends heading into Thursday was adjusting the lineup to accommodate only playing five flights as opposed to the seven it had played throughout the season.

That meant a couple of difficult decisions for head coach Owen Kassimir, which included moving Bin to third singles, and putting Wright, a senior co-captain, into the first doubles slot with Rawaj.

“The whole week was difficult, and we had to think about the different lineup combinations we were going to go with,” said Kassimir. “We knew Danny & Zack would be together at second, but I didn’t know what to do with Bryan. Ryan [Chang], who played with Bryan at first doubles [in the Nassau County Championship] on Monday, is a standup freshman, and he knew the situation and was good about it. I thanked him for being a top-notch guy, and told him he’ll have his chance. But we came up with the idea of putting Alistair & Ved together, we knew they would work well together, and moved Bryan to third singles. It worked.”

Friends Academy now prepares for the NYSPHSAA Championships, and will have two weeks off before heading to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to represent Long Island against the top teams in the state.


“This team is awesome, I love them so much,” Notaris added. “We’re so excited for states. Win or lose, it’ll be an awesome experience.”

Bohner added:

“It really signifies how far this team has come. We got bumped down a conference, and lost to Wheatley in the county final last year, so now to come out here this year and accomplish this, it’s a huge step for us. It shows we have the ability to compete with the best teams, and we’re excited to try to go win a state championship.”

Scenes from LI Championship - Friends Academy vs. Ross School