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Nov 2, 2009 3:54 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Pottish and Kantor win county crown and team advances to semis of tournament

Nov 2, 2009 3:54 PM

For as long as he can remember, Westhampton Beach girls tennis coach John Czartosieski says the fight for the Division IV doubles title has been an all-Westhampton Beach affair. But not since 2002 has the battle for the Suffolk County doubles title been waged between two Lady Hurricane teams.

It happened this year, as last year’s All-State duo of Brooke Pottish and Lindsay Kantor—the top seeds—took on second-seeded teammates Diana Vamvakitis and Jaime Hann. Pottish and Kantor beat Hann and Vamvakitis, just as they did for the division title this year, but it was the toughest match that Pottish and Kantor had been involved in all season. Hann and Vamvakitis came out firing, winning the first set 6-2, and they had a 4-3 lead in the second set before Pottish and Kantor stepped up and won that set 6-4 and then secured their first-ever county title with a 6-1 win in the decisive set.

In their fourth time making the county final, Pottish and Kantor finally came out on top.

“It felt amazing,” Kantor said. “That was pretty much our goal and we were hoping we could do it. We were down in the second set and thinking ‘Oh great, we’re going to get second for the fourth year in a row.’ But we managed to pull it out. It felt really good.”

Both doubles teams will be headed to the state tournament, which will take place this weekend at the Eastside Tennis Club in Manlius, New York.

It will be the fourth trip to states for Pottish and Kantor and the second trip for Hann, who played with Sarah Haupt on a doubles team last year. It’s the first trip for Vamvakitis, who competed as a singles player in the postseason last year.

To get to the county final, Pottish and Kantor beat East Hampton’s Casey Nicoletti and Joneen Murphy while Hann and Vamvakitis beat sisters Mickey and Bridget Harding of Northport. Murphy and Nicoletti lost to the Northport team in the consolation match, which earned them All-State status, but not a trip to the states, as only the top three teams advance.

Vamvakitis said that the semifinal win over the Harding sisters provided momentum for her and Hann which carried over into the final match.

“We were really excited and we knew we were going to states anyway, so we just played our hardest,” Vamvakitis said. “They still beat us, but we’re hoping to meet them in states and play another match.”

Vamvakitis said it’s not too hard to compete against her teammates and said she was happy with the way she and Hann played.

“It doesn’t really matter, it’s sort of the same,” she said. “It’s just friendlier when we play them.”

In the division final, Hann and Vamvakitis lost in straight sets to their teammates but were able to push them to three sets this time around.

“We were both just really pumped and both played really well that day,” Vamvakitis said. “The other days were weren’t playing as well.”

She said that facing Pottish and Kantor day in and day out in practice has been an advantage.

“It makes us better players because we’re our own best competition,” she said.

Kantor agreed with Vamvakitis and said that the fact that she knew her teammates would still be headed to states regardless of the outcome of the final made it a little easier. Kantor also said she wasn’t surprised that the match was pushed to three sets.

“They’re amazing players,” she said of Vamvakitis and Hann. “They’re definitely very good competition. We just started off slow and luckily we were able to bring it together. But it was definitely an even match.”

Seven years ago, Lady Hurricane twin sisters Kristina and Michelle Kennedy beat Clay Miller and Jen Rosler in the county final. Czartosieski likened his current team to that squad.

“That was when we had our last dream team,” he said. “Last year was like a dream team too. But ’02 was the last time the doubles team finished 1-2 in the county.”

Czartosieski said he wasn’t shocked that the county final came down to his two doubles teams.

“I’m not really surprised knowing how strong they are as individuals,” he said. “I’m very happy that it turned out the way we planned it and expected it to turn out.”

The coach said he was glad that the final match was so competitive.

“I spoke to them before the match and said my request was that it was closer than the last time,” he said, referring to the division final. “Jaime and Diana looked at me and said, ‘We’re going to win,’ and I said I liked that attitude.”

Czartosieski said he liked what he saw from Vamvakitis and Hann, particularly in the early parts of the match, but ultimately the experience of Pottish and Kantor took over.

“[Vamvakitis and Hann] played as well as I’ve ever seen them play together,” he said. “They couldn’t do anything wrong. Lindsay and Brooke were kind of stunned but in the second set, they regained their composure a little bit.”

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