Port Washington had been the best team in Nassau County this fall, but still needed one more win to validate that.
That win came on Friday afternoon at Eisenhower Park as the Vikings won its 16th straight match overall and captured the Nassau County championship, beating Roslyn 6-1 for its first county title since 2013.
“This was our goal, from the very first day of practice. We went into the gym to look at our banners and see our history, and decided this was the year,” said Port Washington head coach Shane Helfner. “There’s nothing better than achieving a goal you set.”
As has been the case all-season long, the depth of Port Washington proved to be too much. It starts at the top of the lineup with its singles play, led by Thea Rabman at first singles, Martine McGowan at second singles and her older sister, Tiffany, in the third singles spot. The three-headed monster each won their respective singles matches in the county final to put Port Washington in control.
Rabman would earn the team’s first point, downing Natalia Krol 6-0, 6-1 as the seventh grader continued her remarkable season.
“I think I was just attacking more than I usually do,” said Rabman. “And I was able to play consistent.”
Soon after, Martine McGowan, an eighth-grader, defeated Rena Zervakos 6-1, 6-2 at second singles.
Martine McGowan won her second singles match in straight sets to help lead Port Washington to the county championship.
“They have such tournament experience, their fearless. Nothing scares them, nothing intimidates them. They go out there and believe they can win every match they play,” Helfner said of his young and talented singles players. “They’re both quiet and respectful. That’s the best part, they just go out and play tennis. Their future is so bright, Port Washington is lucky to have them as representatives.”
Tiffany McGowan won 6-4, 6-3 against Amanda Feingold at third singles to bring the Vikings one point away from the title.
That one point would come from its third doubles team, as Kelsey Sy and Mia Froccaro knocked off Alexa Irom and Sophia Remnec 6-2, 6-2 to clinch the county title for Port Washington.
“We had no idea,” Froccaro said when asked if she and Sy knew their match could be the clincher. “Sometimes we prefer not to know because it adds a little pressure, but it worked out in our favor.
We’ve been the clinching match other times this season, but it means nothing compared to this one, because now we’re county champions.”
With the win, Port Washington advanced to the Long Island Championship against the Suffolk County champion.
The young core for Port Washington proved to be ahead of schedule this season, and will only continue to get better as the future of its program looks bright.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.