Suffolk County Boys Tennis Preview
In League I, it all starts with defending champions and Long Island runner-up Half Hollow Hills East. Much of the Thunderbirds' core returns from last year's team, including Zane Ali, Suffolk's fourth-place finisher at singles in 2010. Chris Hunter, Alec Tuckey and Eric Bertuglia will complete a formidable singles lineup.
Whitman has singles ace Eric Stone in first position. Stone defeated Ali at last year's county meet, although Whitman might not have the depth to make a serious run.
Sophomores Matt Sussman and Rajkumar Pammal will play first and second singles and give Commack one of the better one-two punches in the county. Harborfields, fourth in the league in 2010, might be the team to watch. Brian Chalif and senior Jake Brenner lead a strong singles rotation, and Eric Chalif rounds things out at fourth singles.
"We have a lot of depth, so we can put out seven matches that are competitive," Harborfields coach Bob Davis said.
Northport should be the team to beat in League II, although Kings Park and Smithtown West are serious contenders.
Sam Gudeon heads West's singles rotation, and eighth-grader Brian Hoffarth will play first singles for Kings Park. Defending champion Glenn moves to League I.
Defending League III champion Bay Shore is the favorite to defend its title with Matt Racanelli at first singles and sophomore Steven Masciale at second singles. East Islip and Connetquot also could be factors come postseason time.
In League IV, West Babylon has a veteran-laden team led by junior Andrew Kiss at first singles and senior Kevin Karpovich at second singles. It will contend for a playoff berth, while Brentwood, with Alex Hayden at first singles, could take the league title. Defending champion Central Islip also should be in the mix.
This might be the year for Bayport-Blue Point to emerge from the League V pack. Led by reigning All-County player Matt Richards and fellow senior Chad Stevens at second singles, the Phantoms could surprise the competition. Defending champ Patchogue-Medford cannot be dismissed with Steven Marzagalli at first singles. Longwood, with Eric Sumanaru, should be right in the mix.
Port Jefferson, which has a solid first singles player in Eric Rodefeld, is a team on the rise in League VI. With defending champion Stony Brook moving to League V, League VI is up for grabs.
The East End should dominate League VII, with defending champion Ross, Westhampton and Southampton all capable of taking the hardware.
Defending League VIII champ Floyd looks reloaded and ready to repeat, as sophomore baseline specialists Sebastian Alvarez and Kevin Ferguson head their singles lineup. Mattituck and Rocky Point are veteran teams capable of spoiling Floyd's party.