The Huntington varsity girls’ tennis team is headed to the Suffolk Division I playoffs after navigating through some exceptionally challenging competition.
The Blue Devils closed out the regular season with a 5-2 victory over visiting Smithtown West on Senior Day at Coach Cupp Courts. The win gave Huntington a berth in post-season play.
Coached by longtime court mentor Jamie Fishlow, Huntington’s roster includes freshman Tallulah Pitti, sophomores Nina Drakulic and Isyss Jones, juniors Alexandra Helburn and Caitlyn Palermo and seniors Christie Baade, Mia Breitbarth, Maire Brown, Ashlyn Case, Cameron Fehrs, Emma Grassi and Meagan-Elise Malone.
“Playing for the tennis team through all of high school has been the best experience,” Breitbarth said. “It allowed me to make so many new friends and learn things not just about tennis, but life. We have a really good team this year and I’m just so thankful for it all.”
The team is better than its record indicates. Why? Because Huntington’s league includes three of Suffolk’s best teams. But, regardless of the team’s record or even their own personal match record, Blue Devil players all had a blast this fall.
“I’ve been playing tennis since a very young age, being that my dad is a professional tennis instructor,” Fehrs said. “When I made varsity tennis my freshman year, I was beyond excited. I knew I had to continue to work hard to prove myself to be respected on the team. I’ve known Coach Fishlow for a very long time because he coached all four of my brothers, one who won the state championship with him in 2004. This season in particular was more challenging than the others because I’m still struggling with a back injury following the bus accident last spring. It was my last season and I knew I had to push through and make the most out of it. The team throughout my four years has been such a huge part of my life and I’m forever grateful for all the memories with amazing people.”
Fishlow held a ceremony that recognized each of the seniors. Posters commemorating their respective careers were affixed to the fence. The coach spoke warmly about each of his players.
“My experience playing tennis in this program has been unforgettable,” Baade said. “Not only was I able to grow as a player, but with the help of Coach Fishlow, I definitely was able to reach my full potential.”
Huntington won five meets, topping Walt Whitman (5-2), Smithtown East (4-3), Hauppauge (4-3) and Smithtown West (6-1 and 5-2).
“I have been playing tennis since the eighth grade and I’ve personally enjoyed challenging myself to work harder and to step out of my comfort zone.” Case said. “I’ve enjoyed being part of a team.”
Most of the seniors have played together for years, some for as long as six seasons stretching back to seventh grade at J. Taylor Finley Middle School.
“I’ve made so many amazing memories throughout my four years of playing tennis and met so many great friends,” Brown said. “I’ve also grown as an athlete and as a person and will miss it so much next year.”
None of the seniors will ever forget their teammates or the experiences they have shared. “We have such a kind, hardworking and dedicated group of girls who have been together for a long time,” Malone said. “We are always there for each other for support, both on and off the courts. I couldn’t be more thankful for that.”