Max Astilean is the first Bonacker in 20 years — since Matt Rubenstein did so in 2002 and 2003 — to win division singles titles back-to-back.
East Hampton High School’s boys tennis team, which won League IV with an 11-0 record, and which earned the third seed in the county team tournament, the highest seed that a Kevin McConville-coached team has been accorded, was to have played a quarterfinal-round match at second-seeded Ward Melville on May 24. Given his charges’ impressive progress over the course of the season, it was a match that McConville, who began coaching here a half dozen years ago, thought would be more interesting than their 6-1 loss in eight-game pro sets at the East Setauket school on March 21.
“Ward Melville should have been the first seed, they’re the most talented team, and Commack [the top seed] should have been second,” East Hampton’s coach said at the East Hampton Indoor Tennis Club Sunday afternoon. As for East Hampton, “we’re completely different than we were at the beginning of the season. Going into that Ward Melville match we’d only had a couple days to practice. I’m interested to see how we’ll do.”
Meanwhile, the Ross School’s team, which finished third in League IV with an 8-2 record, won the county’s small schools championship on May 18, defeating Bayport-Blue Point, the top seed, 5-2.
Among the Ravens’ winners were Teddy Brodlieb at second singles, Gabriel de la Maza at three, and Max Karmely at four. Ross’s top two doubles teams, Leonardo Carmo and Nick Sanches, and Alex Frolich and Simon Aser, also won.
Vinicius Carmo, who coaches the team with Marcelo Reda, said, “The victory is a testament to the unwavering commitment and tireless efforts and relentless dedication of all the players.”
“We couldn’t be happier with this momentous achievement,” said Reda. “This victory not only showcases the talent within our school, but also exemplifies the values of sportsmanship and perseverance that we strive to instill.”
McConville’s top singles player, Max Astilean, a senior left-hander, recently won, for the second year in a row, Division IV’s singles title, defeating his teammate, Nick Cooper, 7-5, 6-2 in the final. The last East Hampton player to win back-to-back conference titles was Matt Rubenstein, now a teaching pro at E.H.I.T., in 2002 and ʼ03. A high school all-American, Rubenstein, who is a member of East Hampton High’s Hall of Fame, went on to play at William & Mary.
Seeded fourth in the county individual tourney, as he was last year, Astilean avenged himself on the number-five seed, Angelo Guzman, of Comsewogue, in a quarterfinal-round match played Monday. Guzman had defeated Astilean 6-3, 6-3 last year. Astilean then lost to the top seed, and defending champion, Eddie Liao, of Commack, “an unbelievable player,” 6-1, 6-1, which set up a match for third on Tuesday. Finishing in the county’s top four assures Astilean of an all-state designation, the first such in his career, McConville said.
East Hampton qualified eight of its 10 starters — four doubles teams and two singles players — for the county tourney, though disqualifications owing to various reasons resulted in only a few competing.
The freshman doubles team of Jagger Cohen and Henry Cooper, who finished third in the division tourney, lost, McConville said, to “the Hidaka brothers” 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the county tourney’s round of 16. The doubles draw was especially strong this year, he added, attracting a lot of top singles players. Asked why, he said, “Maybe because doubles is less pressure.”
In early-round team matches played at home, East Hampton defeated Islip 7-0 and Harborfields 6-1, with only Armando Rangel, subbing for Chris Pilarski at fourth singles, losing.