With a sweep of a Boys/Girls Doubleheader on Friday afternoon (6/1) added to a classic duel won by the Boys earlier in the week, the Flatbush Boys and Girls Tennis teams both secured spots in the 2018 MYHSAL playoffs by virtue of earning the top spots in the League’s Eastern Division, with the Girls 4-1 win and the Boys 3-2 victory over the HAFTR Hawks at MatchPoint NYC’s Shell Road facility in Brooklyn, NY.
The first match of the week was a scheduled doubleheader with the North Shore Stars. That quickly became a Boys only contest after the North Shore Girls chose not to field their team, forfeiting their match to the Falcons. Playing without their Seniors (who were away from Brooklyn on the YoF Senior Class Trip), the underclassmen were all forced to step up the ladder. It proved to be a great challenge, but one the falcons were ready to take on. Michael Dayan and Sam Cohen moved up from 2nd and 3rd Singles to play 1st and 2nd respectively, while regular 1st Doubled player Albert Chehebar played the 3rd Singles match. the falcons did not skip a beat at 1st Singles, with Dayan dominating his Stars opponent in securing a 10-2 victory. Meanwhile, Cohen was not so fortunate. He managed to win 5 games, but that was it as he fell 10-5 at 2nd Singles. Meanwhile, both doubles teams were unfamiliar pairings, and they managed to split with North Shore. Mark Shalam and Michael Chattah lost at 1st Singles by a score of 10-6 while Isaac Dweck and Teddy Gindi kept the match even at 2-2 with their win at 2nd Doubles, 10-4. That put the match squarely on the shoulders of Chehabar at 3rd Singles. It did not look good for Flatbush for most of the set, as Chehebar fell behind early and was forced to play catch-up. Trailing 8-4, Chehebar found his groove, and went on a tear, closing fast to knot the contest at 9-9. Chehebar had the momentum, and rolled on to secure the final two games – and the match – with an 11-9 win at 3rd Singles.
The two wins over North Shore meant that Friday’s doubleheader with HAFTR would have significant playoff ramifications.
The Boys and Girls hit the courts at the same time, but unlike earlier in the week, they were both at full strength. As it played out, that was key for Flatbush to be successful. The Girls kicked off falling behind when Lydia Cohen was defeated at 1st Singles by a score of 10-2. No worries, though, as Cohen was picked up by each and every one of her teammates. the Benjamin cousins prevailed at the other two singles contests, with Esther E. Benjamin winning 2nd Singles by a score of 10-6 and Esther F. Benjamin securing the team’s second point with her win at 3rd Singles, 10-4. The two doubles sets proved much more challenging, but the Falcon girls were up for it. The veteran pairing of Carolyn Kassin and Kayla Motovich took 1st Doubles by a score of 10-7. meanwhile, the Freshman pairing of Stephanie Tarrab and Sarah Mizrahi went down to the wire at 2nd Doubles. The set was tied 7-7 when the match neared it’s time limit. The Falcons and Hawks would play a tiebreaker game to decide the set. Flatbush’s rookie duo prevailed 8-6 in the tiebreak, securing the final point of the match. The Falcon Girls were victorious by a 4-1 score.
The Boys took on their HAFTR counterparts at the same time, but needed much less drama to secure the match, and the Seniors definitely made their presence felt. Sam Torgueman rolled at 1st Singles by a score of 10-1, and fellow Senior Ricky Esses had nearly as easy a time at 2nd Doubles where he and his partner, Michael Chattah, dispensed their opponents by a score of 10-3. A similarly dominant performance at 2nd Singles by Michael Dayan (a 10-3 victory) secured the third and decisive point for Flatbush. The Falcons came up short in the other two contests, but both were close. Sam Cohen battled all afternoon long at 3rd Singles, ultimately falling by a score of 10-8. The 1st Doubles team of Mark Shalam and Albert Chehebar played well also, but fell by a score of 10-7. The 3-2 victory placed the Falcons alone in the top spot in the MYHSAL’s Eastern Division.
The week’s performances left Head Coach Mike Gelber nearly speechless. Nearly, but not completely. “I am so proud of the way the boys and girls competed,” gushed Coach Gelber. “For our Boys to accomplish this (the Division championship) is truly impressive, after graduating 4 seniors from last year’s Championship team.” He was similarly effusive about the performance of the Falcon Girls. “It has been a challenging season, mostly because of the weather,” said Gelber. “But equally challenging is the fact that we are a very young team. We start four freshmen. However, with the guidance from their more experienced teammates they played like seasoned veterans, and earned a share of the top spot in the Division. It was just an outstanding performance!”
NEST NOTES: The Flatbush Boys finished the regular season with the top spot in the Eastern Division. They will face the number two team from the West, the Hillel Hurricanes, in the Semifinal round of the playoffs. That game will likely be played on Sunday, June 10. Site and time are TBA.
The Flatbush Girls win over HAFTR placed them in a three-way tie for 1st Place in the Eastern Division. As a result, the playoff format for the girls will be different than normal. The two teams from the West will face off with the winner advancing to the Finals. Meanwhile, the three teams tied atop the East – Flatbush, Central and SKA – will play a short form round-robin tournament (sets all to 6 games), with the team amassing the most points advancing to the League Finals. That 3-team Divisional playoff will likely be played on Sunday, June 10. Site and time are TBA.