Kevin McConville is planning big things this spring.
With just three regular-season matches remaining, the head coach of the East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton boys tennis team is fine tuning his lineup as championship season approaches, including the Suffolk County Team Tournament, where the Bonackers finished as semifinalists last season.
This year, McConville and his players are hoping to take a giant leap forward and their ultimate success will likely come from the doubles courts.
“Our lineup will shift depending on the opponent. I’m thinking playoffs,” McConville said on Tuesday as the Bonackers prepared to face Shoreham/Wading River, a team they easily handled early this season. “Doubles are going to be a big deal.”
The Bonackers (6-0 League VII, 7-1 overall) knocked off rival Westhampton, 4-3, on April 4 to take a huge step toward securing the league title. The Hurricanes shuffled their lineup after losing, 7-0, to East Hampton earlier this season and Josh Kaplan played a strong match in defeating Jonny DeGroot, 6-2, 6-2, in the top singles spot. Max Astilean also dropped a point at fourth singles, while Ravi MacGurn and Pierson’s Luke Louchheim cruised in their matches, meaning whoever won two out of three doubles matches would get the win.
As it turned out, East Hampton’s top two doubles teams pulled out wins after losing their opening sets. Jaedon Glasstein and Pierson senior Alex Weseley won at first doubles, 2-6, 6-1, 6-0, while Brad Drubych, another Pierson student, teamed with Matthew McGovern to win at second doubles, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Westhampton won at third doubles.
McConville has made doubles a priority since he took over as coach last season, and the results are starting to show.
“The positioning and strategy, we implemented all that last year. They’re real clear on it and they could coach it themselves,” he said. “Now we’re working on the execution.”
Last month, the Bonackers dropped all three doubles matches against Half Hollow Hills East, which is one of the best programs in Suffolk County and lost the county championship last season to Commack. With a strong singles lineup, McConville believes his team can split the four singles matches against any team. So, if East Hampton can pull off a pair of doubles wins against any given opponent, it could mean big results down the line.
“We know that when you play Commack or Hills East and West that we might split the singles,” McConville said. “So, at doubles, we’ve been working non-stop to see who is going to play with who. It’s going to be tough to win two doubles matches against us. The kids are all focused on the team.”
East Hampton will shuffle its lineup completely in the coming weeks with DeGroot moving down to play doubles. This will allow MacGurn and Louchheim to get experience against some of the league’s top players and maybe increase their seeding for the individual tournaments ahead.
East Hampton will play at Mattituck on Thursday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m. before closing out the regular season against Southampton on April 17 and Southold/Greenport on April 30.