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Oct 12, 2017 10:23 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East Hampton's Kuperschmid And Pillco Win Their First Round Matches At Counties

East Hampton's Becca Kuperschmid placed fourth in Division IV. DREW BUDD
Oct 18, 2017 9:25 AM

Becca Kuperschmid and Pamela Pillco won their first round matches at the Section XI (Suffolk County) Individual Girls Tennis Championships on Friday at Shoreham/Wading River High School, but lost their following matches and were eliminated from play.Kuperschmid defeated Jade Eggelston, 6-4, 6-1, in her opening round match on Friday and advanced to play top seed and Division IV champion Rose Hayes of Mercy on Tuesday, where she lost 6-1, 6-2. Pillco defeated Lauren Hutton of Harborfields, 7-5, 6-2, in her match, and had to face the second seed in the county, Division IV runner up and defending champion Jackie Bukzin of Eastport South Manor, in the second round. Pillco lost, 6-0, 6-0.

Kuperschmid, a junior, and Pillco, a senior, placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Division IV Tournament, which began back on October 6 and wrapped up on October 10. By reaching the quarterfinals of divisions, Kuperschmid and Pillco each earned All-County honors.

Kuperschmid reached the consolation finals of the singles draw after losing to Hayes in the semifinals. Kuperschmid faced Mattituck’s Liz Dwyer in the consolation final, and although she lost the match, 7-6, 6-0, she was happy with how she played to finish fourth. She said last week’s match was the best she’s ever played against Dwyer.

“Last year I placed eighth and there was super tough competition. I had a really big battle yesterday in the quarterfinals, so I’m just super excited that I made it this far,” she said.

Pillco defeated Brooke Del Prete of Westhampton Beach, 7-5, 6-2, to place fifth. She said after she pulled through the first set she became much more comfortable in the second. It was a bit of an upset for Pillco, who was seeded seventh, as Del Prete was seeded fifth, and she also defeated Southold/Greenport’s Natalie Kopola, who was ranked sixth, earlier in the tournament, which began on October 6.

“It was hard at the beginning. I worked hard and it was good. It was fun,” Pillco said of her match against Del Prete.

It was a trying season overall for the East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton girls tennis team, which finished 2-8 in League VII (2-10 overall), tied for last place with Mattituck. It’s the first time in quite some time, head coach Katie Helfand said last week, that the team hasn’t made the Section XI Team Tournament, which began on Wednesday. Helfand said that Kuperschmid and Pillco have the most experience at the varsity level on the team, so it was no surprise that they placed in the division tournament.

“It was definitely a rebuilding year. We lost seven of [last year’s] 10 starters to graduation, so a lot of the players we had never played a varsity match before,” she said. “There were a lot of girls who are new to the sport and they are new to match play, the competitive nature of the sport, the team aspect of the sport, so I think all of those things contributed to the struggles that we had.”

Southampton

Lady Mariners head coach Richard “Juni” Wingfield decided to put all of his players in the doubles draw at the Division IV Tournament. The team’s top pairing of Madison West and Lucy De Los Santos won their first match, 6-1, 6-0, but lost their next match to William Floyd’s Briana Gonzalez and Jessica Jones and were eliminated. Charlotte Ferguson and Emmi Whitall and Christine Szafranski and Kasia Rus also competed for Southampton but lost their first round matches and were eliminated.

The Lady Mariners finished the regular season 10-2 in League VIII, good enough for second place behind undefeated Shoreham/Wading River. Only the League VIII champion is permitted into the county’s team tournament, which began on Wednesday. Wingfield said that he could have changed the lineup around in his team’s second match against Shoreham on September 20 to give it more of an edge, but he decided it was more important that the girls get more time together in doubles so that they could qualify for divisions.

“We had a fantastic year,” he said.

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