Perfection nets Lynbrook conference crown


Lynbrook’s foes at first might have noticed no change – the familiar name at second singles presenting an impassable obstacle, going undefeated for the Owls’ boys’ tennis team in a seeming replay of last season. 

Then it may have struck them. Besides a size difference, that simply couldn’t be Sean Raykis – 14-0 at No. 2 singles for Lynbrook last spring – because the senior this season joined junior Gabe Lewner forming the Owls’ unbeaten first doubles team. 

Indeed, though the surname and insurmountable play were identical, it was eighth-grade phenom Liam Raykis stepping in to his elder sibling’s former spot to finish 14-0 in league play, as Lynbrook – led by All-County junior Cooper Schorr’s 13-1 showing this spring at first singles – took the Nassau Conference 2B crown at 14-0 in coach Shari Bowes' second season. 

Bowes, who oversaw Lynbrook’s turnaround finish as 2B’s runner up last year, said the middle-school standout’s presence this season was doubly crucial to her team’s title run – not only shoring up a singles roster that also included unbeaten Owls junior Sean Hensley (14-0) at No. 3, but permitting older brother Sean’s critical move to doubles, thus giving Lynbrook a lights-out lineup in four events. 

“Gaining Liam this year, we were able to secure first, second and third singles,” said Bowes, whose team fell to Manhasset May 21 in a Nassau Class B quarterfinal. “And with everyone knowing he was Sean’s little brother, I think it pumped up the team. I think we built the ground last year, and this year we knew we had the ability to be the best in the conference.” 

Schorr, seeded eighth at the Nassau County Individual Championships May 19, progressed to the tournament’s third round. The junior, unbeaten last season at first singles for Lynbrook, held it down at the team’s top spot for a second season, using a blistering serve to blast his way to 13 wins.

“When Cooper has to turn it on, he turns it on. He gets really pumped and is just phenomenally athletic,” Bowes said of the three-sport athlete. “He’s been the glue of our team.” 

As well as promoting cohesion, Schorr brought a bit of magnetism this season, drawing friend Emmet O’Grady – a junior Owls wrestling and football team member who was new to tennis – to the team. O’Grady and freshman Jason Beard went 5-9 at second doubles for Lynbrook, as did the third and fourth doubles tandems of Charlie Horton and Jake Frankel, and Ethan Velasquez and Christopher Adonna, respectively. 

“Every win we could get was important,” Bowes said. “Emmet came out of nowhere, asked by Cooper to come try out, and he never left the courts. He’s such a good athlete and he worked so hard and just became a tennis player who can now serve aces. It’s truly amazing.” 

“This whole season was great,” Bowes added. “What we wanted to do was become conference champions, and we did that. We’re pretty young still, too. We have a bunch of years ahead of us. So we’re all just really excited.”