October 04, 2006
Westhampton Racketeers Blank Bonackers
When a girls' tennis team can win every game in a match against the toughest opponent in its league without its top singles player, it says a lot about the character of the victorious team. But then again, Westhampton isn't any ordinary girls tennis team.
"I feel like the girls are playing with a lot of confidence right now," said Hurricanes coach John Czartosieski shortly after Westhampton defeated East Hampton 7-0 at East Hampton High School on Thursday afternoon. "When they enter a match, they have the attitude that they're going to win. They have high expectations for themselves now. We just need to make sure that we stay focused on what our goals are and not look too far ahead."
Westhampton's Brooke Pottish filled in at first singles because teammate Ali Harding was on a family trip. Pottish looked as impressive as ever, defeating the Bonackers' top singles player Molly Nolan in two straight sets; 6-0, 6-2.
"It was the first time Brooke had played number one singles this year and she rose to the occasion," Czartosieski said. "Molly Nolan hits the ball hard and Brooke was up for that challenge."
In second singles, Lindsay Kantor shut out Casey Nicoletti 6-0, 6-0 while Elli Vam Vakitis bested Calli Nicoletti 6-3, 6-3 in third singles. "Lindsay is a second year varsity player and her game just seems to be getting better and better as the season goes on, while Elli is playing tennis this year instead of swimming," said Czartosieski. She's just a natural athlete who has always played tennis and it's been a real treat to have her on the team."
Also on Thursday, Christine Cassaro won a 6-2, 6-7, 7-4 tiebreaker over Hyatt Tortorella in the fourth singles match. In first doubles, Lea Crowne and Christina Grant defeated Erika Barco and Jacquelene Emptage 6-3, 6-2, which was followed by another strong performance from Westhampton's Stephanie DiCapua and Sarah Haupt, who won 6-1, 6-4 against East Hampton's Joneen Murphy and Macarena Ramos.
But according to Czartosieski, the third doubles tandem of Aly Brent and Brittany Dankner was particularly impressive after defeating Vickie Peel-Margraf and Sarah Smith 6-4, 6-4. "I was very impressed with the way my third doubles team played today because I've been mixing up the lineups lately. They're both seniors and I gave them a game plan before the match and they went out on the court and executed it. They were more aggressive at the net when they needed to be and I think that was a key in that match."
East Hampton, which features one of the youngest starting teams in Suffolk County, has been a pleasant surprise in the first half of the season, winning key matches against Southampton, Shoreham-Wading River, Ward Melville and Ross. The Bonackers appear in all likelihood to be on their way to a postseason berth despite starting no less than five freshmen each match.
The win against the Bonackers on Thursday was Westhampton's second of the season against East Hampton (3-3 in League VII, 4-4 overall) and improved the Hurricanes record to 10-0 (6-0 in League VII). Four more league wins will secure the regular season title for Westhampton. And with Harding back in the fold, opposing teams will be hard-pressed to secure a win against one of the top players on Long Island.
Harding has not lost this season and is 9-0, winning every match in straight sets. She was tested briefly against defending Suffolk County champion Hills East as well as against Middle Country's top singles star Robyn Romanoff although she shined throughout both matches, passing both tests with flying colors. "Ali always has to play the other team's top player, but she's looked real good this season," said Czartosieski.
Westhampton plays a tough Sayville team today at 4 p.m.
"We would be happy to represent our division in the county final. The girls' confidence level is high. We want to let the other divisions know that we're pretty good out here on the East End."