A Tennis Win and a Lacrosse Loss

Enrollment numbers have pushed LAX team into Division I
Jonny De Groot is very coachable, says Kevin McConville, East Hampton’s coach, given the number of weapons he has. Jack Graves

East Hampton High’s senior-heavy boys tennis team is expected to have another standout season.

The Bonackers reached the semifinal round of the county team tournament last spring after sharing the league title with their archrival, Westhampton Beach — but only after Alex Weseley and Hunter Medler soundly defeated Brennan Tomlinson and Santo Benenati 6-1, 6-2 in a showdown that followed Section XI’s dismissal of a claimed 4-3 forfeit by Westhampton’s coach, who, in the second East Hampton-Westhampton meeting, called a halt late in the first set of the first doubles match on the grounds that Weseley was not wearing a team jersey. 

“Appropriate attire,” not necessarily a team jersey, was required, argued Kevin McConville, East Hampton’s coach, who in his successful protest said that while Weseley was not wearing a team jersey he was wearing one with the school colors, maroon and gray.

Westhampton was to have played a league-opening match here Tuesday, a match the Bonackers, who defeated Half Hollow Hills West 4-3 in a season-opening mandatory nonleaguer Friday, were expected to win.

East Hampton’s top three are familiar, with Jonny De Groot of Bridgehampton at one, Ravi MacGurn of East Hampton at two, and Luke Louchheim, a Pierson freshman, at three. The latter went undefeated in league play last season, and lost only a few matches, grudgingly — in nonleaguers and in the postseason — all told.

Max Astilean, an eighth grader who has transferred to East Hampton from the Ross School’s high-powered Tennis Academy, is playing at four, having replaced Brad Drubych and Jaedon Glasstein there. Astilean’s 6-4, 6-4 win at fourth singles was the clinching one Friday, said McConville.  

Drubych, with Matthew McGovern, won 6-2, 6-4 at third doubles, East Hampton’s sole doubles win. Weseley, who’s expected to play first doubles with Glasstein this season, was absent (as was Hills West’s number-two singles player) Friday. 

In Weseley’s absence, Glasstein played with Jamie Fairchild. Those two lost to their Hills West opponents, Keshov Khanna and Aman Khanna, 6-4, 6-4. Miles Clark and John Jimenez lost 6-3, 6-2 at second doubles. MacGurn and Louchheim each won in straight sets in singles. 

De Groot, after dropping the first set 7-6, won the second 6-4, “by keeping the ball low to the other kid’s backhand and coming in for putaways at the net,” McConville said, but lost 10-7 in a third-set super tiebreaker, trailing throughout. “The other kid had an unbelievable forehand, but Jonny played well, he played smart. He’s fun to coach because he has all the tools, a lot of weapons.” 

The head pro at Hampton Racquet, McConville is in his second year of coaching at the high school. He said he expected that Commack and Hills

East would again be the county’s 

top teams. “They split last year . . . Commack wound up as the Long Island champion.”

Hills East is to play a mandatory nonleaguer here tomorrow. McConville said that in the meantime he would be working hard with his doubles teams, “because it comes down to doubles. Teams like Hills East serve hard and poach — even at three.”

On to boys lacrosse: Having been moved up to Division 1 because of the combined enrollments of the high schools — Southampton, East Hampton, Pierson, Ross, and Bridgehampton — from which the South Fork’s team can recruit, the Southampton-based Islanders, whose roster of 23 players includes 10 from East Hampton, is nevertheless expected to be competitive, according to the coach, Matt Babb.

The Islanders lost 15-10 to Port Jefferson on Southampton High’s turf field Friday, but that was without the services of the team’s first-string goalie, Hudson Brindle of Pierson, who is expected to be sidelined for a couple more weeks with a broken hand. 

Cody Bezubek, an East Hamptoner, spelled him in the goal that day, and on making his first save, in the opening minutes, after the Islanders had taken a 2-0 lead, was loudly applauded by his teammates standing on the sidelines.

By halftime Bezubek had made six saves, but Port Jeff, a Division II team, had put seven shots by him for a 7-6 lead at the break. 

The visitors scored a short-handed goal to wrest a 3-2 lead with 4 minutes and 50 seconds left in the first quarter, and built the margin up to 7-2 before the Islanders, in the second period, scored four unanswered goals — one by Luke Morro, two by Zac Mobius, one of them following an interception in the defensive end, and one, a 28-yarder, by Brian Damm, a Bonac senior middie who was the Islanders’ high-scorer last year. 

With the Royals outscoring the Islanders 8-4, there was, however, less to write home about in the second half.

All of Babb’s defensemen are new, though, with Damm, Cole Shaw, and Logan Gurney, all of East Hampton, and with Morro and Mobius, and Connor Rozzi, he’s got some punch on the offense.

The combined team has games scheduled this spring with Sachem North, which finished fourth in the power-rated division last year, Walt Whitman, which finished fifth, William Floyd, which finished sixth, and with Patchogue-Medford, which finished seventh, among its 13 opponents. 

The Islanders, with a preseason ranking of 21 among 23 teams, will have to score some upsets of higher-rated teams to earn a playoff berth. Babb reportedly thinks it’s possible.

Port Jeff defeated the South Fork Islanders 15-10 in a season-opening nonleaguer in Southampton, but the Islanders’ coach thinks the combined team will be competitive. Craig Macnaughton