The East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton boys tennis team hosted Half Hollow Hills East in a non-league match on Thursday, March 27—only to see where it stacks up against some of the stiffest competition Suffolk County has to offer. While the Bonackers may have suffered their first loss of the season, 5-2, to the returning county finalist Thunderbirds, it’s clear they belong in the conversation among the county’s elite.
Bridgehampton senior Johnny DeGroot and Pierson freshman Luke Louchheim picked up East Hampton’s two victories, with DeGroot defeating Ishen Varma, 6-2, 6-3, at first singles and Louchheim taking down Krithik Madisetty, 7-5, 6-4, at third singles. East Hampton head coach Kevin McConville said both DeGroot and Louchheim’s matches were impressive, but in different ways. DeGroot totally outmatched his opponent in just about every aspect, while Louchheim had to work for his win. He trailed Madisetty, 4-1, at the start of the match only to come back and win in straight sets.
East Hampton senior Ravi MacGurn lost his second singles match, 6-4, 6-1, to Michael Han, who McConville thought was the Thunderbirds best player. Max Astilean, an eighth-grader from East Hampton, lost his fourth singles match, 6-4, 6-3, to Atreya Rawet, but McConville said it was a highly competitive match and just about every point was fought for.
The Bonackers (4-0 League VII, 5-1 overall) struggled in doubles, but even those matches were close. Bridgehampton seniors Jamie Fairchild and Brad Drubych won their first match, 6-3, over Matt Andelsman and Jesse McNofsky, but then dropped the final two sets, 6-1, 6-4. East Hampton sophomore Matthew McGovern and Bridgehampton sophomore Miles Clark went toe-to-toe with Alex Raphaelson and Ryan Schneider at third doubles, but it was Raphaelson and Schneider who took the match, 6-4, 7-5. East Hampton senior Jaedon Glasstein and Pierson senior Alex Weseley suffered a 6-2, 6-4 loss at first doubles to Aryan Sethi and Albert Cheng.
“We definitely have improving to do, both in singles and doubles,” McConville said. “Everybody is getting better. Other than our four singles players, no one plays year-round, so those kids benefit greatly from these early, tough matches.
“I like the way the kids are playing, they’re all playing smart,” he added. “Even when I go to yell at them about something, they know what I’m going to yell at them about. It all comes down to execution. And you could tell they were a little nervous against East. It was a big match that we had been preparing for, for quite a while. It’s a good thing for them to know that they’re competitive with these other teams though. We got swept in the doubles sets again, but the scores were close. When we got swept in doubles last year against them, the guys kind of got trounced. So we thought it was going to be very close, and, for the most part, it was.”
McConville plans on changing up the doubles lineup, he said, most likely starting with pairing Drubych and McGovern. From there, the rest of the pieces should fall into place.
After playing Southold/Greenport on Tuesday and Westhampton Beach on Thursday, April 4, the Bonackers will host Commack in another key non-league match.
Just about all of the top teams—Commack, Harborfields, Hills East, Hills West and Ward Melville—each have losses already this season, making the early picture of who stands above the rest a little unclear.
McConville said he thinks its due to a few of the teams missing some of their key players early on, which will be the case on Friday when East Hampton will be missing Fairchild, who will be away in Canada on a big trip with the Bridgehampton robotics team.
Commack has also been down a few players for various reasons, too, so it could still be a competitive match, McConville said.