A mix of seniors and underclassmen proved the perfect formula for Baldwin to capture its first girls’ tennis conference championship since 1994.
After sharing the Conference III-B title with Plainedge, the Lady Bruins (12-2) outlasted East Meadow in the semifinals and Carle Place in the finals, both by 4-3 margins.
“Both playoff matches were up in the air,” Baldwin coach Lauren Glasser said. “We lost every first set in doubles against East Meadow and came back to win three of four courts. Against Carle Place, it was the third time this year we had a 4-3 match. They won the first one and we won the last two.”
The championship-clinching win came from the fourth doubles combination of freshmen Jalyn Simmons and Shenyece Ferguson. They prevailed in two competitive sets, 6-4, 7-5. Baldwin also swept the singles matches, with Ashley Masanto completing an undefeated campaign in the No. 1 position, Stacy Gutierrez triumphing at No. 2, and Sydney Goldstein at No. 3.
“After we got that final point, the girls were screaming and jumping and hugging each other,” Glasser said. “It was really exciting.”
Baldwin’s starting lineup consisted of five seniors, one junior, two sophomores and three freshmen.
Masanto, a senior transfer from St. Francis Prep, was “an incredible addition,” Glasser said. Ranked among the East’s Top 40 (under-18) players by the USTA, Masanto went 14-0 while dropping only two games all season. “She’s a tremendous player with no weakness in her game,” Glasser said. “She hits hard and consistently, has a great serve and a strong mental game. She got along great with the other girls and fit right in.”
Gutierrez, a senior and four-year starter, put in a lot of work over the summer, Glasser said, and raised her level of play. Gutierrez went 11-3, including wins in both playoff matches. “Stacy wants to play in college and has become stronger and more consistent,” Glasser said. “She never lets emotions get the best of her.”