With one year left before he heads to Ann Arbor and play for the Michigan Wolverines, Oyster Bay’s Patrick Maloney wanted to play high school tennis in his senior season and compete for a county and state title.
He completed the first half of that on Monday afternoon at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow as he defeated Cold Spring Harbor’s Matt Cashin 6-2, 6-1 to win the Nassau County Singles title.
“I think I served really well today which made up for some errors in my game from the baseline,” said Maloney. “Once I was able to get the early breaks in both sets I felt a lot more comfortable.”
The top-seeded Maloney dropped just five games throughout the tournament, which was played over the course of two weekends and concluding on Monday, thanks to multiple weather delays and postponements.
“It definitely challenged me mentally. You come in prepared to play four matches in one weekend, and it ended up being three points one weekend, and four matches the next weekend,” said Maloney. “But once I knew I would be coming back this weekend, I just used the week to prepare and I think I did a good job of practicing. And it worked out well.”
Maloney played at the varsity level when he was a seventh-grader, but had to stop over the next few years as he had a full schedule of sectional and national tournaments that required a lot of traveling during the spring.
With a lighter schedule load this season, Maloney decided to play in his final season as a high schooler.
“I played in seventh grade and I loved it,” he said. “I knew my schedule would be pretty heavy but I always said that my senior year I was going to play for sure.”
By playing in his senior year, his impact stretched further than his own on-court success, as he was able to be a role model for his Oyster Bay teammates.
“He came in used to playing individually, and this was the first time he was amongst a team of players,” said Oyster Bay head coach Glen Steinberg. “He fit in great. The kids looked up to him. He really got to work with some of our younger players, and he was a role model. So to see him go this far is great not only for him, but also for our program.”
Maloney now awaits the start of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Championships, where he is likely to be the tournament’s top seed.
By way of his second-place finish, Cashin also qualifies for next weekend’s state tournament, as does Port Washington’s Gabriele Brancatelli, who finished in third after Wheatley’s Michael Medvedev was forced to retire with an injury.
Scenes from the Nassau County Semifinals and Finals
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.