New Paltz High School boys tennis coach Scott Taylor had one message for his four tennis players Monday: “Remember your friendship and play your best.”
He didn’t want to coach the Mid-Hudson Athletic League semifinals at Bard College in Annandale, as one of his doubles teams was matched against another one of his doubles teams.
In the end, Alessandro Mauceri and Isaac Cheruiyot defeated top-seeded teammates Owen Sheekey and Elijah McKee 6-4, 6-0 in the semifinals, and went on to beat Andrew Tyson and Alec Gautier of Rhinebeck 6-4, 6-4 to win the MHAL doubles title.
“Both Alessandro and Isaac kept their heads and stayed positive,” Taylor said. “I reminded them to stay positive.”
Taylor was merely a spectator to the MHAL semifinal, offering advice to his teammates prior to the match instead of coaching during it.
“I told them to relax, play hard and do your best against each other,” Taylor said. “I told them to remember that their friendship is the most important thing. It was some terrific play and I couldn’t be prouder. It was one of the top days in New Paltz tennis.”
In the first set, Mauceri and Cheruiyot trailed their teammates 4-3 before rallying to win. And although they won 6-0 in the second semifinal set, Taylor called it “the closest 6-0 he had ever seen.”
“There were a lot of rallies, volleys and overheads,” he added. “It was phenomenal doubles play.”
Tyson and Gautier defeated Spackenkill’s Linsky Lundy and Cory Gallinger 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the finals.
“Rhinebeck’s team — they were gentlemen,” Taylor said.
Millbrook eighth grader Daniel Feigelson, seeded No. 2, finished as the runner-up in the singles tournament. He lost in the finals to top-seeded Jarrett Monte of Wallkill, 0-6, 2-6.
Feigelson defeated Zach Bonitz of Ellenville 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals. Monte beat Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Naveen Chowdry 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals.
By virtue of reaching the MHAL semifinals, Feigelson, Chowdry and New Paltz’s Noah Kalus qualified for the Section 9 tournament, which takes place Tuesday May 24 through Wednesday May 25 at the Goshen Sports Complex.
Mauceri, Cheruiyot, Sheekey, McKee, Lundy, Gallinger, Tyson and Gautier each qualified for the Section 9 doubles tournament.
“Afterwards, I told them ‘Guess what? Practice tomorrow, guys.’ There’s no doubt practices are geared toward what we’re looking to do at sectionals,” Taylor said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
A.J. Martelli: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports