September 13, 2006

Westhampton Beach Girls' Tennis Preview Westhampton is Poised and Ready

John Czartosieski, now in his seventh year as the Westhampton girls' varsity tennis coach, knows how important it is to have a program dedicated to the development of young players, because often, especially for the Lady Hurricanes, those young players turn into varsity stars.

"We're fortunate to have a lot of players that start playing tennis so young," said Czartosieski, whose team enters the 2006 season as heavy favorites to repeat as league champions. Last season, Westhampton went undefeated and opponents will be hard pressed to put a blemish on what will likely be a repeat performance.

Beginning with their #1 singles player Ali Harding, an All-County junior, Westhampton's roster reads like a who's who list of Suffolk County elite. "She's very consistent, can change the pace when she needs to and has a real strong serve," Czartosieski said.

Number two singles player Brooke Pottish, who made All-County as an eighth grader, is a freshman but her coach said that her consistency level is already in place and she has improved her all-around game dramatically. "Mentally, Brooke's very, very strong and she doesn't let a bad shot affect her," Czartosieski said.

The Hurricanes #3 singles star Lindsay Kantor is also a freshman who was named All-League last season. "We call her the fighter because she'll grind out a match as long as she has to in order to win."

All three players' tennis games are developing nicely and Czartosieski sees a lot more power as the three take control of the points. "That's going to help them win a lot more matches."

At #4 singles is newcomer Elli Vamvakitis, a sophomore with powerful, accurate shots. She, like her three aforementioned teammates, hits the ball with confidence.

Christine Cassaro, a junior, rounds out Westhampton's singles squad and although she is new to the varsity, Czartosieski said, "She has a nice singles game and she's steady with her ground strokes which are one of her strengths."

Stephanie DiCapua, a junior veteran doubles player who formerly played with Pottish, will anchor the Hurricanes top doubles team. DiCapua will play with either Cassaro or Lea Crowne, a senior. "Stephanie really knows all aspects of the doubles game," Czartosieski said. "She's very accurate with her shots and she's an experienced All-County player." DiCapua placed third in the county last season.

Senior Christina Grant, who keeps the ball in play and loves to attack at the net, will be joined by either Crowne or seniors Aly Brent and Brittany Dankner. Allie Lehrer or Sarah Haupt will also see action in the doubles spots while freshman Rhiannon Tufano and junior Skye Ostreicher round out the fantastic varsity program.

"We are favored to win our league, so anything less would be disappointing," Czartosieski said. "We always manage to get a good seed for the county team tournament, but inevitably run into a roadblock so our goal needs to be to avenge those losses. Our goal needs to be to get to the county finals. Last year we lost in the quarterfinals and we want to go beyond that. Depending upon how hard we work, we'd really like to get a chance at the county title.

"We're going to be good in our league. Are we going to be good enough to win the counties? That's the question."

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