Although they had never faced each other this fall, Westhampton Beach freshman Rose Hayes and Commack sophomore Emily Tannenbaum knew each other well coming into last week’s Suffolk County individual girls tennis championship match at Shoreham/Wading River High School on October 17.
Through U.S. Tennis Association play in the offseason, the two not only played together in doubles matches but faced each other twice before in singles play. They had split those two matches, so the match for county singles supremacy was a rubber match of sorts.
Hayes can now say she has the edge, with a county title to prove it.
In a back and forth contest, Hayes defeated her good friend Tannenbaum in three sets, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, and became the first Westhampton Beach player since Jen Dupré in 1998 to win a singles title. She advances to the New York State Championships at Tri-City Fitness in Latham, New York, on October 27 through 29, for the second year in a row. She was a county runner-up last season after falling in the county championship match to Eastport South Manor’s Jackie Bukzin.
Whether or not that loss to Bukzin fueled Hayes, she has been dominant all season long and, coming into the county tournament, had only lost a single game to East Hampton senior Becca Kuperschmid in the final league match of the season. She wound up giving up a single game in the county semifinal match against Commack’s Gabriela Glickstein, but Hayes still won, 6-1, 6-0. After losing the first set 2-6 to Tannenbaum, the stoic Hayes didn’t panic or get down on herself.
“You always get a little tight,” after a loss, she said, “but it’s another set, it’s like a new leaf, so … let it go.”
Hayes is the first player under John Czartosieski, who began coaching the Westhampton Beach varsity team in 1999, to win a county title, and the head coach gave credit to Tannenbaum for playing exceptionally well in the first set. Hayes, though, he said, made the necessary adjustments throughout the match, in particular, to the wind that was blowing throughout it.
“I think after that first set Rose kind of calmed down,” he said. “She kept a great attitude all throughout that second set. As a result, she elevated her game, which she needed to do, and she just took that momentum I think into the third and that carried her through. I think the wind was more challenging in that third set, even more than when the match started. And I think Rose did a little bit better of a job adjusting to the wind.”
Hayes came to Westhampton Beach after playing for Mercy last season as an eighth-grader. Since she is an East Moriches resident, Hayes had the option to choose between three different school districts to attend—Center Moriches, Eastport South Manor or Westhampton Beach.
“I’m just very grateful that she chose Westhampton. That was like winning the lottery,” Czartosieski said, with a big smile. “It was a true gift and she’s just such a high caliber player. The girls on the team were just so excited to have her. I had a really good core of girls returning so it made us an automatic contender for the team title, which is our team goal, so we’ll see what happens.”
The second-seeded Lady Hurricanes defeated No. 15 Half Hollow Hills West and No. 7 East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton last week to reach the semifinals of the Section XI Team Tournament, the first time they have done so since 2009. They defeated No. 6 Islip, 6-1, on Tuesday to advance the finals against No. 1 Commack on Wednesday at William Floyd High School. That match occurred too late to appear in this week’s edition. Results will be at 27east.com and in next week’s edition.
Hayes said after her big win last week that her new teammates made the transition to a new school easy.
“They were really welcoming and everyone was happy,” she said. “They kind of knew who I was so that helped, especially coming to a new school in the fall. The coach was really nice and supportive and everyone has been really great.”
A few of those teammates competed with Hayes at counties in both the singles and doubles brackets. Seniors Onalee Batcheller and Brooke Del Prete reached the finals of the doubles draw and lost, 6-2, 6-4, to Half Hollow Hills senior Lauren Cherkin and Alexis Huber. It was the third straight doubles title for Cherkin. Batcheller and Del Prete, who were seeded third, stamped their tickets to states though and will be joining Hayes after finishing in the top three, thanks to their 6-1, 6-4 victory in the semifinals over Islip’s Maddie Germano and Darlene Rogers, who were seeded second.
Westhampton Beach had a total of nine players at counties, the most of any school. Senior Marin VanderSchaaf and freshman Katelyn Stabile each won their first-round singles matches but then lost in the second round. Stabile was eliminated by Tannenbaum, and Vanderschaaf lost to Glickstein who finished fourth in the county. Rose Peruso and Juliet Tomaro lost their first round match to Islip’s Kristen Scheidel and Kate Berger. Rieve Delisle and Helena Jones lost to Germano and Rogers in the first round.