In his spare time, Kennedy boys’ tennis coach Ari Bisk enjoys the art of magic and teaching it to others at various Long Island libraries. But he manages to save some of his wizardry for his teams.
Bisk and the Cougars captured their first conference title in five years on the strength of a 13-1 record in 2B play. Of their 13 wins, which were two more than last year, five were by 7-0 sweeps and six more were split evenly between 6-1 and 5-2 scores.
The magical run unfortunately ended with a 7-0 loss to Herricks in the first round of the playoffs May 17, but Bisk didn’t let the setback diminish his team’s performance this spring.
“We had a really successful season,” Bisk said. “We had a handful of seniors towards the top of the lineup that led the team [and] a group of guys that made some big jumps from last year to this year. We really had a nice well-rounded team where if our singles couldn’t get the job done, our doubles teams were able to come through and pick us up.”
That wasn’t more evident than the Cougars’ two 4-3 victories of the season, where all of the wins were recorded by the doubles teams in separate matches against Lynbrook. The third doubles team that day of junior David Rovensky and eighth-grader Nicolas Vergara battled to a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 victory at home on April 21 before the second pair of sophomore Matthew Stone and freshman Daniel Heandy rallied for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 road triumph on May 8.
“Lynbrook had the best singles and they had to just find one doubles win,” Bisk recalled. “At home it was pretty comfortable, but on the road, I told the doubles we knew we didn’t have any room for error.”
The three singles competitors of seniors Nicholas Papazis and Zachary Boas and sophomore Dylan Laby combined for over 30 wins this season, with Laby leading the way with 12 in third hole. All three players earned All-Conference honors for their efforts.
Papazis has the team’s strongest and most consistent serve, according to Bisk, and is solid on the baseline. Boas made the move to second singles this year and showed tremendous improvement while posting 10 wins and Laby was an “automatic win” in his singles debut.
On the surface, a first doubles team that consists of a senior and eighth-grader wouldn’t expect to garner many positive results, but Nicolas Magliano and David Krass debunked that theory by going 13-1 on the season.
“I knew that Magliano would be a good role model and set an example with David coming in from junior high,” Bisk said.
Stone and Heandy also finished 13-1 and Jacob Franklin moved down from second doubles last year to third this season and formed a solid pairing with Vergara. Bisk had to overcome several injuries with the bottom pair to get victories from players such as Connor Barath, Ben Schreiber, Mark Rovensky, Ben Dubs and alternates David Greenberg and Aidan Weaver.