For sophomore Rose Hayes, her Division IV title win was three times as nice. But it came with a caveat — she had to beat her teammate to claim it. The No. 1 singles star handily outdid classmate Katelyn Stabile 6-1, 6-0 for her third straight win in her fourth consecutive division final appearance.
“It feels pretty nice,” Hayes said, adding she didn’t focus on the threepeat during the tournament finals, held Monday, October 14, at Shoreham-Wading River High School. “I never underestimate anyone.”
Facing her teammate, still, was awkward, she admits.
“We always warm up with each other, especially in the beginning of the season, knowing there’s a chance we could see each other down the road in this tournament,” Hayes said. “It’s weird because we’re friends, but in that time, we’re opponents.”
The sophomore said she finds it better playing someone she doesn’t know. “When you play a friend, it’s 10 times harder,” she said.
While Hayes is not sure if facing Stabile was it, she admitted she didn’t play her best, missing simple shots she’d normally make, and double faulting. The lobs though, were working in her favor. Hitting the high shots forced Stabile to return the ball with full force from behind the baseline, resulting in most cases with the ball falling out of bounds.
“It got especially sunny all of a sudden, which helped with that, too,” she said.
Hayes also let up the only game of her entire tournament run to Stabile.
“I didn’t have anything to lose,” Stabile said. “I was going as hard as I could.”
Multiple Hurricanes Made It Before
While this isn’t the first time Westhampton head coach John Czartosieski has had an all-Hurricanes final, it is the first time since at least 2010. In the past he’s had four doubles teams make it to the semifinals, but it is the first time since he’s had a “super, super singles player like Rose,” Czartosieski said.
“I haven’t had this success we’ve had in singles in the past like we’re having now,” he said, smiling. “So that’s all new, and it’s really nice. Winning never gets old.”
The coach particularly liked how Stabile didn’t let up against a nationally-ranked player like Hayes, who sits at No. 64 according to Tennis Recruiting Network.
“Katelyn played a great match. She didn’t give it away, and I’m proud of her. She also played better than she did last year,” Czartosieski said. “There’s a difference between losing and playing well and losing and not playing well, and she knew she had her hands full, because Rose Hayes is another level — she’s a seasoned player, she plays tournaments year-round, and her national ranking is super high.”
Hayes shut down Shoreham-Wading River’s Catherine Erb to get to the finals. Erb topped East Hampton’s first singles player Juliana Barahona 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
“In the first set, I was very focused on what I had to do, but I made a lot of unforced errors,” said Barahona, who fell to Erb in the same spot last season. “I was anxious to make every point and finish the match quick, so I lost my concentration.”
Erb, being a defensive player, waited for Barahona to break, while the sophomore looked to force her Wildcat opponent come to the net to make her miss.
“I think this time I had a lot more experience,” said Barahona, who moved to Sag Harbor from Colombia last year. “It feels amazing getting to this point, playing against good competition, so you can improve your game each year.”
The top eight players — all the girls who made the quarterfinals — earned All-County honors and a spot in the Suffolk tournament. This includes Southold’s Natalie Kopala, Mattituck’s Kelsey Bundrick, Shoreham-Wading River’s Liza Undrus, and William Floyd’s Alyssa Drell.
Peruso And Curran Claim Crown
Westhampton’s doubles duo of seniors Rose Peruso and Jen Curran also had to outdo their teammates, and beat juniors Helena Jones and Rieve Delisle 6-3, 6-4 for their first title.
“We wanted to do this all season — I just can’t believe this is happening,” Curran said. “Matches between us during practice have always been really close.”
She said she liked when she or Peruso would throw down a strong serve and the other would put it away at the net with the volley.
“But we were going to be happy either way, and they played awesome,” Curran said. “They’ve been pushing us all season, so it was really funny to actually play them for real.”
For Curran, it was her inaugural All-County performance, while Peruso made it past the semifinal round for the first time.
“It feels great putting points away,” said Peruso, who slammed down a few aces and poached the ball to take several games. “We’re best friends. And this is something we’ve been working toward. We’re hoping to ride this wave.”
The top four doubles duos also earned a berth into the county tournament. Singles players begin the tournament Friday, October 18, at Shoreham-Wading River High School at noon, while the doubles begin play Saturday. Finals for singles and semifinals and the championship round for doubles will be Monday, October 21.