Long Island Badminton Preview
With six Nassau County titles since 2002, and two straight championship seasons, the Calhoun girls badminton team already can be considered a Long Island dynasty. With seven of their 11 starters returning from their undefeated championship season in 2010, the Colts will be looking to keep their success going.
Among the returnees are senior captains Elise Meade, moving from second singles to first, and Marissa Levy, who partners with Jenna Deldove at first doubles.
Coach Greg Muscarella said he has high hopes for his roster as it defends its championship.
"Our expectations this season are to try to go undefeated and win the county title again," Muscarella said.
One of the teams looking to end Calhoun's dominance is Farmingdale, which has two seniors, Caitlin Milana and Liz Shields, and sophomore Angie Gonzalez starting at singles.
Dealing with a major roster switch is Port Washington, which will start three singles players -- juniors Olga Kosheva and Sophia Jaffe and freshman Liz Kallenberg -- who played doubles for a Vikings team that finished out of the playoffs last season.
Half Hollow Hills enters the season as defending champs, led by junior Hannah Finger, last season's singles champion. County runner-up Whitman will look to take the title from Hills with its No. 1 doubles team of Ammie Tamano and Jen Kielawa, both seniors, and ninth grader Carrie Simone at No. 1 singles. Simone's older brother, Matt, was the singles champion last year with the Wildcats.
"My singles lineup is maybe the best since I've been coaching," Whitman coach Scott Wolff said.
After capturing the Suffolk boys title in 2007 and 2010, Miller Place looks poised to take control of the county once again this season. Junior Jesse Dietrichson, who placed third in the county singles championship last season, will lead 10 returning upperclassmen for coach Don Pranzo's Panthers.
Other teams to keep an eye on are Smithtown East, which Miller Place beat in the finals last season, and Half Hollow Hills.
Smithtown East returns its top three senior singles players: Eric Hirschfield, Patrick Hughes and Patrick Edsell. Half Hollow Hills, which is led by seniors Frank August at singles and Chad Davis at doubles, will try to secure its first title since 2008.
The CHSAA will feature a battle between St. John the Baptist, last season's champion, St. Anthony's and 2009 winner Our Lady of Mercy, which will field a team rebuilding after losing several key players to graduation.
The Friars, backed by the No. 2 doubles team of Katie Kechejian and Samantha Kender, both seniors, will try to repeat.
Our Lady of Mercy will attempt to win its second title in the past three seasons with seniors Sarah Ewald at third singles and Jackie Durant and Ashley Scaglione at fourth doubles.