When Patrick Maloney made the decision to play for Oyster Bay in his senior season, he did so with the goal of winning a Nassau County Championship and then a New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Championship.
He accomplished the former a couple of weeks ago at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, and completed the latter on Saturday at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, capturing the NYSPHSAA Singles title with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Geneva’s Ryan Fishback.
“I actually made the decision to play in my senior year a couple of years ago,” said Maloney. “This is awesome; I couldn’t think of a better way to end my senior year. I played very well today and got it done.”
Maloney received what was, by far, the biggest test of his season against the sophomore Fishback. The University of Michigan-bound senior struggled to get things going on his serve early on in the first set, and both players traded breaks to bring the opener to 5-5.
Fishback held a game point in the 11th game and had a chance to take a 6-5 lead, but Maloney dug in and fought back to earn the break. A few points later, he served out the first set.
He carried that momentum into the second set, breaking Fishback early on and never looking back.
“I started off pretty slow…Just had to fight hard and I was able to do so in that 5-5 game,” he added. “I came out strong in the second set after that and was able to take control pretty quickly.”
Maloney didn’t drop a game throughout the regular season, and didn’t lose more than three games in any set throughout the county or state tournament. Despite that, Maloney didn’t flinch when he found himself tied deep into the first set.
“It was the first time he got tested all season,” said Oyster Bay head coach Glen Steinberg. “It was the first time I saw him a little nervous, but he’s always laser focused. And once he won the first set, he got his pace going and was able to take over the match.”
“I think just being able to see how focused he is when he plays helped the other kids see where they have to go to get to the next level,” Steinberg added on the impact Maloney had on the Oyster Bay program this past season.. “Never giving up on any points, never losing track of where you’re at and no matter what the score is always grinding through. And that’s how Patrick played the entire season.”
Maloney’s singles title marks the third straight year the NYSPHSAA has come from Nassau County. Plainview JFK’s Yuval Solomon won back-to-back NYSPHSAA titles in the previous two seasons. Shawn Jackson of Susan Wagner, the PSAL (Public School Athletic League) Singles Champion, won the New York State Federation Title after Maloney withdrew with a foot injury.
In the doubles final, the top-seeded pair of Charlie Levinson and Connor Aylett of Mamaroneck came back from a set down to beat Scarsdale’s Luke Smith and Nikolay Sahakyan 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 to win the NYSPHSAA doubles title. The duo went on to defeat the PSAL Doubles Champions, Beacon's Donovan Brown and Julian Szuper, to win the New York State Federation Title.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at email@example.com.