Kevin McConville built his doubles teams during the last two seasons with the hope of sweeping three matches and stealing one at singles when it mattered most. Whether it was against Half Hollow Hills East, Harborfields or Commack, the defending Suffolk County champion from a season ago, the East Hampton boys tennis coach hoped his doubles teams would make the difference at just the right time.
And ultimately they did. The Bonackers have had the best two-season stretch in team history. They reached the semifinals of the Suffolk County Team Tournament last season and were hoping to do the same this year.
In the end, the team earned a five-seed for this year’s team tournament and had to travel to Harborfields last Friday for a quarterfinal match. East Hampton won two out of three doubles matches but got swept in singles, losing 5-2 to bring the season to a close.
“It’s a big advantage, being able to get out of school and go play tennis with the wind conditions and the sun and be out there for an hour to go through your normal warm-up,” McConville said about the home-court advantage. “But I don’t think it played a role at Harborfields. They have a really good team.”
Harborfields lost a day later in the semifinal round to Half Hollow Hills East, which went on to beat Commack on Monday to win the Suffolk title.
“Whether it was Hills East, Harborfields or Commack, we had a game plan,” McConville said. “I thought our three doubles teams were the most complete, deep teams. But Harborfields had four really good singles players.”
At first singles, Harborfields had the reigning individual champion in Suffolk County in Alex Rzehak, who beat Jonny DeGroot, one of six seniors on the East Hampton team, 6-2, 6-4.
“Jonny played his best match of the year against that kid,” McConville said. “He’s just a super solid player.”
Ravi MacGurn, who is also a senior, and Luke Louchheim, a Pierson freshman who will join his brother, Jack, at boarding school next year, lost at second and third doubles, respectively. Max Astilean, who will return to lead next year’s team, dropped his match, 7-5, 6-1, at fourth singles. The sweep made the doubles results irrelevant to the overall result.
“Luke played really well and we thought Ravi had a real good chance,” McConville said.
Pierson senior Alex Weseley closed out his high school tennis career by winning at first doubles with Jaedon Glasstein, 6-1, 6-3. Matthew McGovern and Miles Clark won their match at third doubles, while Pierson senior Brad Drubych and Bridgehampton senior Jamie Fairchild lost at second doubles after playing just one set to eight games. The match was cut short because Drubych had tests to take later that day and because the overall result was already decided.
McConville, who is in just his second year as head coach, said this year’s group of seniors along with Louchheim will be “sorely missed.”
“These kids just kept getting better and better,” McConville said. “It was a really cool group.”