Less than 24 hours after losing in the finals of the city championships to Beacon High School, the Varsity Boys tennis team at Brooklyn Tech was back on the court again.
Competing in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) Doubles Championships at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, the Brooklyn Tech team of junior Mikolaj Borak and sophomore Sami Chahi advanced to the semifinals with a solid 10-3 win over Forest Hills High School's team of senior Xunlong Zhang and sophomore Michael Jasienowski.
The other Brooklyn Tech doubles team comprised of sophomore Justin Selig and senior Ilan Korchmar had a tougher time on the court Wednesday. After winning their opening round match 10-0 over Forest Hills, they lost a spirited 10-7 battle against sophomore Matthew Balilo and freshman Jun Yuminaga of No. 4 seeded Cardozo High.
"We were able to regroup pretty quickly from the loss yesterday because we knew that we were the underdogs going into the final," said head coach Dr. Scott Anderson. "It was an accomplishment for us to get that far."
Utilizing strong returns of serve to control the rallies early, Borak and Chahi broke serve in the first game and quickly raced out to a 6-1 lead. Strong serves from the Forest Hills team earned them a few easy points, but Brooklyn Tech won most of the extended rallies throughout the match.
"Mikolaj and I have been playing singles all season, but we know each other well and got into a rhythm fairly quickly," Chahi said. "We'll have to improve our volleys and concentration moving forward, but this was a good start."
Chahi's strong first serve percentage made him stand out as the key player in the contest, and Anderson said the sophomore played a crucial role in getting the team into the city finals.
"Sami didn't come out for the team last year, and I told him at the end of the season that we'd have made it to the semis or finals if he were with us," Anderson said. "Lo and behold, he joined the team this year and we got to the championships!"
Despite coming within one meet of becoming city champions, Anderson said the team is still in a rebuilding state and expects to do one better next year.
"We lost almost all of our players three years ago and it's taken us that long to get back to this point," he said. "Beacon is graduating their No. 1 and No. 3 singles players this year, while our entire starting lineup is coming back. There are still some very strong teams, but I think we could go one step further."
Semifinal action kicks off Thursday at 3 p.m. with Borak and Chaki taking on the No. 2 seeds from Bronx High School of Science, sophomore Alexis Cal and senior Spencer Chan. The finals are scheduled for May 31.