Westhampton Beach junior Josh Kaplan did what he set out to do at the Division IV boys tennis singles tournament on Monday at Shoreham/Wading River High School, advancing to the finals for the second-straight year. Kaplan, seeded second, beat East Hampton’s Jonny DeGroot, the third seed, in a more than two hour match, taking the first set, 6-4, losing the second set by the same score, and then winning the decisive set, 6-1.
Kaplan advanced to the finals against top-seeded junior Mike Koscinski of Center Moriches for the division title on Tuesday and lost, 6-3, 0-6, 1-6. DeGroot defeated fourth seed Ravi MacGurn, his East Hampton teammate, in the consolation match, 7-6, 6-0.
Kaplan and Koscinski have a friendly rivalry going, and based on previous meetings between the two, Tuesday’s match was expected to be a crowd pleaser. They both train at the same tennis facility in Syosset, and also compete together as a doubles team in USTA tournaments. Kaplan defeated Koscinski in the semifinals of the division tournament last year, before losing the title to teammate Danny Tocco, who graduated.
“They have a nice on-court rivalry, and are very respectful of each other’s talents,” Westhampton Beach head coach John Czartosieski said. “They’re actually good friends off the court.”
Regardless of Tuesday’s results, the individual postseason runs will continue for both players this weekend. The top eight singles players from each of the county’s four divisions advance to the county tournament, which will start on Friday at Half Hollow Hills West High School. Kaplan will be joined by teammates Andre Insalaco and Trevor Hayes, who also advanced to the quarterfinals of the division tournament. They were set to play consolation matches on Tuesday to determine their final placings for seeding purposes in the county tournament.
Westhampton Beach’s third-seeded doubles team of Kasper Buchen and Jake Ongania will make the trip to counties this weekend as well. They lost, 6-1, 6-3, to East Hampton’s Jaedon Glasstein and Alex Weseley, the top-seeded doubles pair, in the semifinals, and were scheduled to play second-seeded Devin Quinones and Cole Brigham of Southold/Greenport in the match for third and fourth on Tuesday.
Czartosieski said he was happy overall with his team’s showing at the division tournament, especially considering how much his team lost to graduation last year, particularly in the doubles draw.
“I lost every one of my doubles teams [from last year],” Czartosieski said. “They were all brand new. So to have a doubles team just playing together for the first time and placing third and fourth, I think that’s a real positive result.”
After placing second in League VII, the Canes (8-2 in League VII, 9-4 overall) earned the ninth seed in the Suffolk County Team Tournament and will host No. 24 Sachem this Tuesday, May 14, at 4 p.m. The winner of that match will play at No. 8 Half Hollow Hills West the following day again at 4 p.m.