Third Time’s The Charm For Hills East
Fifty-two consecutive wins in Suffolk County over three seasons earned the Half Hollow Hills East varsity girls tennis team their third county championship in a row last Saturday.
The undefeated Lady Thunderbirds (19-0) took on the Lady Colonials (20-1), also undefeated until their game against Hills East, in the final round of the Section XI playoffs to earn the county championship title.
It was announced last week that the Long Island Championships, which pits the top teams from Nassau and Suffolk Counties against each other, were canceled this year. Last year, Hills East fell to the top-seeded team in Nassau County, Syosset, in a tough Long Island tournament loss.
At Smithtown East last Saturday, Ali Huber and Natalie Haebich dominated their first doubles opponents, 6-2, 6-2; and in first singles Ester Chikvashvili came out the winner after a 6-3, 6-7, 8-6, 6-1 tiebreak, placing third in the county singles tournament.
In second singles, Vanessa Scott proved to be the better player after defeating her William Floyd opponent in a clean sweep, 6-0, 6-0; and freshman Stephanie Chikvashvili won the best of three sets in third singles. Brynn April came out with a win in the fourth singles slot, 6-0, 6-0.
Huber and Scott teamed up a week before the championships to win the Suffolk County double titles, when they also competed against top players from William Floyd.
Prior to earning the championship title and bragging rights for the third year in a row, Hills East defeated East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson 7-0 in a flawless game, when Ester Chikvashvili won 6-2, 6-0 at first singles and beat their sister team, Hills West, 7-0 in the Suffolk quarterfinals.
Both Ester Chikvashvili and Huber were named All-State players and competed in the state championships Nov. 3, when Chikvashvili fell in a close quarterfinal match, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.
The Lady T-Birds had an equally domineering victory over Westhampton on Oct. 22 in the third round of playoffs, which they won easily 7-0.