Near the midway point of the season, the Glen Cove girls’ tennis team was sitting fairly dominant with a sole loss on the season. The issue was, that loss held weight within Conference IIIA. In order to win its eventual conference title, the Lady Big Red had to pull off a win in a redemption game against Clarke.
“We had a really tough loss to them the first time, so we were really looking forward to them the second time around,” Glen Cove coach Chris McDonald said. “We knew they’d be tough, but we used our home court advantage and we squeaked out a nice win.”
Glen Cove’s initial loss to Clarke on Sept. 20 was the team’s first of the season. When they met again on Oct. 11, Clarke traveled to Glen Cove and finished on the wrong end on a 4-3 match.
“We knew after we beat Clarke, we were 12-1 and we were going to be playing Hicksville soon who was 11-2,” McDonald said. “If we lost to Hicksville, we were going to have to play them one more time to see who would be conference champions.”
Glen Cove took the bus over to Hicksville on a less-than-optimal day to play considering the weather conditions, and stole a 4-3 game to seal the Nassau III-A title for Glen Cove.
“It was really windy that night and they were tough,” McDonald said.
Sara Garcia and Nicole Valensisi played excellently at second doubles, taking the first two sets away from Hicksville 6-3 and 6-1.
“Valensisi and Garcia got their rhythm back playing with each other,” McDonald said. Valensisi missed an early portion of the season with an injury. Dana Levy was able to slide into her role at second doubles with Garcia, and go 4-1 in her absence. After Valensisi returned, she and Garcia finished 8-2.
Third doubles players Lily Hoffman and Nicole Khaimov played a massive role in this year’s conference title. Boasting the best third doubles record in the conference, the pair went 13-1 in league play.
“It was interesting because they lost to Clarke badly the first time we played them,” McDonald said. “And then the second time we played them, they won in a close match and they really played well all year long.”
At first singles, Axelle LaBaw finished 10-6. “She had a really strong season playing the number-one players on every team,” McDonald said.
Second singles player Sangimo Davlatshoeva finished 8-7 as a freshman and gained some very valuable varsity experience that will benefit her and the team in the future. Third singles player Julia Lucidi is also a freshman that gained very valuable experience in 2019.
The most successful players for Glen Cove this year were Caitriona Greene and Abigail Weiser, finishing at 14-0 on the season at first doubles. The pair of seniors was dominant in their Conference IIIA campaign and didn’t suffer a single loss until the first round of the postseason, where Hewlett swept Glen Cove in seven straight sets.
McDonald will have six seniors, five of them starters, graduate the program at the end of this calendar year.
“It’s going to be tough, because we will be graduating some of the core of our team,” McDonald said. “But I’m proud of how they played this season.”