Despite losing eight seniors from a team that went 13-1 and captured the Nassau Conference II-B championship in 2018, the Lynbrook girls’ tennis team is a win away from clinching at least a share of another league title.
After a shutout victory Oct. 10 over visiting Long Beach, the team’s eleventh consecutive win, the Lady Owls improved their record to 12-1. With a win over Massapequa in their last regularly scheduled contest, the Lady Owls will finish in a first- place tie with Oceanside. Lynbrook and Oceanside split their season series.
“Coming into the season, I knew we’d be ok because of our depth at doubles,” long-time Lynbrook coach Shari Bowes said. “But, we didn’t have a lot of experienced singles players. The girls rose to the occasion. They’re athletic, focused, and passionate. Just a great group.”
The Lady Owls played a pair of thrillers with South Side, winning both matches 4-3. When the teams met in mid September, Lynbrook swept all four doubles matches. Sisters Grace and Maggie Bodian, the team’s second doubles pair, battled back after dropping the first set to defeat Leah DeVito and Maeve Laurie 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 to secure the win.
In the second meeting, DeVito and Laurie returned the favor by beating the Bodians in three sets, leaving the outcome of the match in the hands of the sophomore Alex Travis. The team’s second singles player exacted a little revenge on Meghan Sherlock with a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 victory. Sherlock had beaten Travis the first time they met.
Lynbrook’s first doubles pairing of juniors Sammi Feldman and Jacey Stock have been tough to beat all season long, but when they dropped a three-set match at Bellmore-JFK the Lady Owls needed a win from senior Arpie Bakhshian in first singles. Bakhshian, who draws every opponent’s top singles player, bested Julia Wender 6-3, 6-1 to clinch the victory.
On Sept. 26, the Lady Owls turned the tables on an Oceanside team that had beat them two weeks earlier. Again, they needed one of their singles players to put them over the top. This time is was junior Ambiya Hussain in third doubles. Hussain lost the first set, but rallied back to defeat Paige Vesely 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
With junior Lexi Samelson leading the way, Lynbrook is 12-1 at third doubles. Samelson, who has been paired with both freshman Ava Schwam and sophomore Sophie Ward, is terrific at the net and runs down balls with the best of them.
The fourth doubles pairing, comprising athletic sophomore Jordan Glickman playing with Schwam, Emma Ward, or Sophie Ward, has a perfect 13-0 record and has gone three sets just twice all season.
Bowes, who is quick to mention the impact that volunteer assistant coach Amanda Gaimaro has had on the program, is proud of her team.
“They’re a special group on and off the court,” Bowes said. “The girls who aren’t in the starting lineup practice hard and are always ready to step in when called upon. It’s a total team effort.”