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Oceanside shares conference lead

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Oceanside moved one step closer to securing at least a share of the Nassau Conference II-B girls’ tennis crown last Friday with a 4-3 victory at Kennedy.

“They’ve got new courts made of turf so our girls had to adjust their games and it wasn’t easy,” Oceanside coach Jamie “Della” Connolly said. “The surface was really a factor. Plus, it was very windy.”

The Lady Sailors improved to 12-1 with one regular-season match remaining. Lynbrook is also 12-1. The teams split matches with each winning on the road. “We beat them 5-2 at their place and then they came to us and won 4-3,” Connolly explained. “Home-court advantage didn’t mean a thing. We’re two very strong teams.”

Oceanside and Lynbrook will both head to the county team playoffs, which begin next Monday, and travel to face an opponent from the top conference. The Lady Sailors will also have representatives at this Saturday’s Nassau individual tournament at Eisenhower Park, including their No. 1 and 3 singles players who’ll form a doubles team.

Sophomore Martina Eulua holds down first singles for a second straight year and has a .500 record. “Martina’s a solid player with a strong net presence and a wicked serve,” Connolly said. “She can mix things up by hitting with topspin or a slice.”

Freshman Paige Vesely has made the jump from middle school to varsity, where she holds a .500 record at third singles. Primarily an indoor player growing up, she’s adjusted well to the outdoor elements and challenges of a higher level. “Paige has a killer first serve and a tremendous cross-court backhand,” Connolly said. “She continues to tone her game.”

At second singles, junior Ashley Kessler is enjoying a big season with 11 wins after playing second doubles in 2018. “Her rise is all due to hard work,” Connolly said. “She’s extremely tough mentally and has an excellent forehand. She’s also a team leader who never misses a practice.”

Oceanside’s doubles pairings gave the competition headaches all season, starting at the top with senior Hallie Neufeld and junior Izzy Weintraub. “They played fourth doubles last year and requested to stick together,” Connolly said. “They’ve been dominant from the get-go. They’re our heart and soul.” Neufeld and Weintraub have recorded 10 wins.

Undefeated in a dozen matches at second doubles, Connolly described senior Annalisa Milano and junior Mackie Manyin as an unlikely tandem that jelled quickly. Milano was a sub last season, while Manyin competed at third singles. “They compliment each other so well,” Connolly said. “Annalisa is strong at the net and Mackie is one of our best baseliners.” Manyin and Neufeld will form a doubles team at this weekend’s county individual tourney.

Also perfect on the year in 12 matches is senior Sari Goldstein and sophomore Sydney Fuchs at third doubles. “They’ve played consistently strong,” Connolly said. Fourth doubles have been somewhat of a rotation led by seniors Ria Mehta and Leslye Blau. Senior Emma Nastro and junior Kara Smith have also contributed.