Thanks to a trio of strong singles players and solid depth in the doubles’ pairings, the Lynbrook girls’ tennis team is on the cusp of clinching its second conference championship in three seasons.
After winning the conference in 2016, the Lady Owls slumped to a 4-9 record last fall that including a season-closing six-match losing streak. But the girls put all of that uncertainty to rest by ripping off 11 wins in their 12 contests, leaving them a game ahead of South Side and 1½ games better than Plainview entering the final week of the regular season.
The roster has plenty of experience at both singles and doubles with nine seniors overall, including seven starters. There is also a junior and four sophomores that are mixed into the starting doubles teams.
“I think our depth is definitely there,” coach Shari Bowes said. “Having them since ninth grade enables them to get that experience at a varsity level sport. As seniors, they feel confident and not as timid on the court. That helps a lot.”
Lynbrook’s two toughest matches this season have been against South Side and the schools have split a pair of 4-3 decisions. The Lady Cyclones dealt the Lady Owls their only defeat on Sept. 17 after rallying to win the decisive third doubles and first singles matches. On Oct. 3, senior Allison Shifflett outlasted Meghan Sherlock 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 to clinch a huge victory for Lynbrook.
“Our matches are always so tight,” Bowes said. “When they came to us (on Sept. 17), their singles were competitive to us and one of their doubles teams pulled through for the 4-3. This most recent match, they flip-flopped their first and second singles and I think that made a huge difference.”
Shifflett’s win also gave Lynbrook control of its own destiny for the Nassau Conference 2B championship, which it could seal this week against Plainview-Old Bethpage and Massapequa.
“We are more than capable and we’re excited [to be close to] the conference championship,” Bowes said.
Two other seniors, Casey Kaplan (first singles) and Sydney Travis (second singles) have both enjoyed successful seasons. Kaplan, a multi-sport athlete, brings plenty of agility to her matches and that endurance helps her maintain a strong volley and Bowes lauded Travis for her consistency throughout the season.
Junior Arpie Bakhshian and sophomore Ambiya Hussain are the first doubles pair and have shown strong communication and net play during their matches this season,. Sophomore Sammi Feldman, a tireless worker, and senior Anna Morelli, with her strong drop shot ability, comprise of the second doubles.
The third doubles team of seniors Alyssa Burton and Rosie Perlstein keyed Lynbrook’s 5-2 win over Kennedy on Sept. 20 with a dominant straight sets victory and rallied for a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win in another 5-2 win at Plainview Old-Bethpage the next day.
Bowes is also excited for the future success of her fourth-doubles pair in sophomores Lexi Samelson and Jacey Stock.