Boys tennis exceeding expectations right out of the gate


Sean Lui

Senior Austin Agna prepares to serve the ball against Cold Spring Harbor at a home match on April 5. The Vikings won the match 6-1.

Nathan Abramowitz, Staff Writer

The boys tennis team are off to a great start to their spring season, which began on March 31. A perfect start, actually, as the team is 4-0 Nassau Conference I to start the year. This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, however, as the team looked talented from the start.

“I knew going into this season that we were going to have a strong year,” said coach Peter Travis. “We have so many talented, experienced guys this year.”

Seniors like all-county players George Caslow and Tim Serignese are key contributors to the team’s success, as well as seniors Max and Austin Egna, who consistently provide skill at the first doubles spot. The Egna twins had a dominant season last year, reaching the quarterfinals of the Nassau County doubles tournament.

To start the season off, the Vikings faced off against Plainview JFK, one of the team’s main rivals. Despite Plainview’s strong lineup of players, Port emerged victorious, and the Vikings went on to win 5-2.

Juniors Dylan Spilko and Justin Suzzan allowed the opposition to scrap only one game off them. Port exposed the weaknesses of the top-heavy Plainview team in a solid team victory.

“Getting off to this great start meant a lot for us,” said senior captain Rob Konoff. “Plainview is a really good team and beating them like this gives us a lot of confidence going forward.

In their next match, Schreiber squared up against Great Neck North High School on April 3. Again, Port was multiple steps ahead, crushing their opponents 6-1.  An especially gripping performance came from first singles player eighth-grader Alex Karmen.

Next up for the Vikings was Cold Spring Harbor. On April 5, Port drove through Cold Spring Harbor, beating them 6-1. Sophomores Zachary Gruber and Ryan Siegel out-hustled and outmatched their opponents, beating them in straight sets. In addition, Karmen continued to lead the Vikings, beating Cold Spring Harbor’s Matt Cashin in an emotional three-set match 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Karmen’s victory can be attributed to Coach Travis’s key coaching points this season: encouragement, positivity, and patience. Focusing on these qualities allow the team to win close matches like Karmen’s.

“It’s really important during a match to always take it one point at a time,” said Karmen. “You can’t let the last point bother you. You have to move on so you can be at your best for the next point.”

These key points of emphasis have been a driving force behind the tennis team’s great run thus far.

“Everybody has their own role on the team,” said Kaslow. “Everyone is always encouraging and motivating each other. Everyone has been contributing to our wins.”

Finally, in their last match before spring break, Port dominated Friends Academy on April 7 by a score of 7-0.  Gruber and Siegel delivered another dominating performance, notching a victory at third doubles. This overwhelming victory improved the Vikings’ record to a perfect 4-0 on the season.

The boys haven’t stopped looking ahead. Every player has circled one matchup on their calendars: the upcoming match against Syosset, which has remained firmly on top of the conference in recent years. The Braves have won the county championships for the past two years and are sporting a current 37-game winning streak. The Syosset team is known for their incredibly deep lineup and excellent top talent players.

“Syosset has always had a very strong team,” said junior Jake Weiner. “We have a very strong team too though. This match means a lot more to us than any other match and we are all really excited for it.”

There’s no doubt that defeating Syosset will be a challenging feat, but it’s a task that the Vikings are ready to take on. This season, the Vikings will face Syosset in two matches, the first of which took place on April 21.

“This is the strongest the team has been all the years that I have been here,” said Austin Egna. “We all are thinking of a county championship. We all know we can do it.”