Realigned Lineup’s First Win

Josh Brussell
hed Zach Newburger, a senior (on the baseline), with Max Snow, a freshman (at the net), at first doubles. Jack Graves

    As has been said about Cold Spring Harbor, in regard to the high school boys tennis teams in Nassau County, when it comes to League VII in Suffolk one could well say, “It’s the Ross School and then everybody else.”
    But when it comes to everybody else, it seems — East Hampton being in that group — the competition has been keen.
    “There’s been no rhyme nor reason to it,” Josh Brussell, who’s coaching East Hampton’s boys team, said Monday. “It’s been a matter of ‘on any given day. . . .’ ”
    As of Tuesday, the Bonackers shared last place with Shoreham-Wading River, each at 1-5, though East Hampton enjoyed a big 4-3 win here over 3-4 Southampton on Friday.
    “I’m still feeling my way when it comes to our lineup,” Brussell said as the match was being contested. That day he had moved Zach Newburger, East Hampton’s perennial number-one singles player, to first doubles with a freshman from Bridgehampton, Max Snow, and put Ben Okin, a sophomore with “great potential,” up to number-one singles. Okin lost that day — not unsurprisingly — to Southampton’s top player, Jeremy Dubin, but East Hampton swept the three doubles matches and its reliable number-four, Milton Farez, defeated Alex Grun 6-0, 6-0.
    Brussell said he thought Newburger and Snow could “definitely qualify for the leagues, and I think they have a great shot at making the counties.”
    Of Okin, who hails from a strong tennis family, he said, “He’s got so much potential — he just has to iron out the kinks.” By that, Brussell said, he meant that “he’s got to become more consistent.”
    Newburger, he added, was “a great doubles player,” and Farez was “a great number-four. He’s awesome.”
    The win was East Hampton’s first league win of the season. Brussell said he liked the idea of matching seniors and freshmen, as he has done with Newburger and Snow, and as he has also done with Manny Ferix and Peter Davis, the third doubles pairing. Reese Donaldson and Andrew Dixon are playing at second doubles. Collin Kavanaugh and Danny Ruggiero are playing at second and third singles.
    On Friday, Newburger and Snow defeated Southampton’s Thomas Gallon and Matias Ruiz 6-3, 6-2; Donaldson and Dixon defeated Adam Fezza and Liam Gifkin 6-1, 6-2, and Ferix and Davis defeated Andrew Jawoski and Dylan Maso 6-0, 6-1.
    In singles, Dubin defeated Okin 6-0, 6-0; Elliot LaGuardia defeated Kavanaugh 6-2, 6-4, and Dylan Blue defeated Ruggiero 6-2, 6-2.
    East Hampton is to play host to the powerful Ross School team, a finalist in the county team tournament last year, this afternoon.
    Speaking of the Cosmos, who are coached by Vinicius Carmo, they continue to roll along. In recent matches, they’ve defeated Eastport-South Manor and East Hampton by 7-0 scores, defeated Southampton 5-2, and Shoreham-Wading River 6-1.
    Carl Grant, a seventh grader, and Will Greenberg, an eighth grader, lost the point in the Shoreham match by a score of 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Against Southampton, Richard Sipala, the number-one, was defeated by Jeremy Dubin 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, and Grant, who was playing fourth singles that day, lost 6-4, 7-5 to Dylan Blue.
    Moreover, Ross had four champions in the United States Tennis Association Level 2 tournament it held over the weekend — Ian Combemale, a sophomore who defeated his teammate, Felipe Reis, a junior, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in the finals of the 18-and-under division; Trippie Tuff, an eighth grader who won the boys 14s; Jonas Feuerring, a sixth grader who won the boys 12s, and Cece Combemale, a seventh grader who won the girls 12s. Louis Caiola, a sophomore, was the runner-up in the boys 16s.
    Another Ross player, Nadia Smergut, Suffolk’s defending singles champion, who recently turned 15, is playing this week in the Easter Bowl national junior tournament in Southern California.
    Carmo said a nonleague match that Ross was to have played last Thursday at Cold Spring Harbor had to be canceled “because of the rain, and their schedule is full now.”