- In the everyday team matches, Brooke Pottish and Lindsay Kantor ordinarily go their own ways - Pottish locked in at the top singles spot on the Westhampton Beach girls tennis team, and Kantor splitting time between singles and doubles. However, at season's end, they've made a habit of teaming up and making a run in the state individual tournament as a doubles team. This year, their third upstate, they went farther than they've ever gone before.
The junior tandem rolled up a record of 3-2 at the NYSPHSAA Tennis Championships at the Eastside Racquet Club in Manlius, N.Y. A trip to the quarterfinals and then a victory over the champs from Section III in the consolation bracket eventually led Pottish and Kantor to a sixth-place finish, two spots ahead of where they were seeded.
"They exceeded the expectations," Head Coach
John Czartosieski said. "Our goal at the beginning was just to place, and they achieved their goal. They finished higher than expected. I can't ask for more than that. The competition is the best in the state, and there were some really excellent players up there."
Despite finishing second in Suffolk County behind Sayville's Kara Caufield and Jordan Lite, Pottish and Kantor drew the No. 8 seed in the 32-team draw in part because they were three-time competitors upstate. They started off by beating Justine Rusk and Emma Manuel of Williamsville East, 6-1, 6-2. Westhampton's top team then knocked off Bellmore's Brittany Ciavarella and Jessie Rubin in similarly convincing fashion, winning 6-2, 6-1.
Lindsay Kantor and Brooke Pottish made the most of their third
appearance in the state championships as a doubles team.
"They were no nerves really," Czartosieski said. "Maybe just getting their game going in the first round, but they seemed under control in the first two rounds and it was fairly easy for them."
That put Pottish and Kantor in the quarterfinals where they met Section I runners-up Diana Lorentz and Margaret Iliev of North Rockland. The third seeds, who lost to second-seeded Shiho and Kaho Sato in the sectional finals, set up a rematch in the state semis by beating the Suffolk County champs, 6-2, 6-1.
"They didn't have an answer to their really hard-hitting groundstrokes," Czartosieski said. "They did play Australian (a style in which the team serving has both players lined up on the same side), so they kind of confused our receiver. They weren't sure which direction to hit the return and got stuck a couple times."
Pottish and Kantor managed to rebound, dumping Section III champion Liz Uhrinac and Mikaelle Fletcher, 6-1, 6-2, before falling in the fifth-place match to Caufield and Lite, 6-4, 6-1. Czartosieski was unsure whether a team during his regime had ever placed at states. If anyone did, he said, it was the Kennedy sisters - Kristina and Michelle - back in 2002 before they went on to star at Division III Salve Regina (R.I.).
The draw ended up holding form, as the state doubles championship was won by the top-seeded duo from Garden City, sister Kelsey and Jacqui Raynor, who finished second last year. They defeated Lorentz and Iliev for the title. On the singles side, Jen Kellner of Hauppauge reigned supreme, defeating Williamsville East's Olga Khmylev.
Sarah Haupt played her final match in a Westhampton uniform
when she and Jamie Hann faced Shiho and Kaho Sato
in the second round.
Also in the mix was the third-place team at counties, the Lady Hurricanes' Jamie Hann and Sarah Haupt. Making their first trip to states, the tandem more than held their own, coming back to beat Minte Tamoshunas and Emily Rubenstein 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, in their first-round match. Their run came to an end their next time on the court as they fell 6-4, 6-1 to the Sato sisters from Keio Academy in Westchester County.
"They overcame some serious tournament nerves," Czartosieski said. "They were much more poised and relaxed in their second-round match. They went out there and had a lot more fun and really enjoyed the experience. They put too much pressure on themselves."
Of the four, all but Haupt will be back for Westhampton, which won the League VII and Suffolk County team titles before falling to Port Washington last week in the Long Island championships.