Jackie of Eastport.
That’s how high school girls tennis coaches refer to her. Jackie of Eastport. No last name needed. Anyone familiar with Suffolk County Division IV knows full well who Jackie of Eastport is.
That would be Jackie Bukzin, the Eastport-South Manor junior.
As of Thursday, it became Jackie of Eastport, the three-time Division IV singles champion.
Bukzin lived up to her top seeding in the tournament, winning all five matches she played by 6-0, 6-0 scores, including Thursday’s final against Bishop McGann-Mercy seventh-grader Rose Hayes, for her third straight division championship.
Putting tremendous spin on her shots and somehow getting to balls and returning shots that looked like sure winners, Bukzin (15-0) was like a wall that moves in the final at Shoreham-Wading River High School.
During the third game, the third-seeded Hayes (16-3) was becoming visibly upset, banging her racket on the court a couple of times. In the next game, Hayes called a foot fault on Bukzin, who countered that Hayes couldn’t see from her vantage point. Bukzin missed her next four serves, but still didn’t concede a game.
Following the fifth game, the division chairwoman, Debbie Lutjen, called both players to one end of the court and spoke to them. Then Lutjen positioned herself at midcourt to officiate the remainder of the match, which featured some nice rallies. Bukzin was called for two foot faults in the second set, but only one of them cost her a point.
After 59 minutes it was all over and the two players, who used to share a car pool to training, shook hands.
Bukzin is responsible for all three of Hayes’ losses this season. In their two league matches this season, Bukzin won, 6-1, 7-5, and 7-5, 6-0.
On Thursday, despite some impressive ball retrieval by Hayes, Bukzin outpointed her younger opponent, 48-17. Bukzin allowed Hayes to score only six winners (no service aces) while putting away 15 winners herself.
To advance to the final, Hayes defeated teammate Sofia Anzalone in the semifinals. Anzalone (16-2), a freshman seeded seventh, lost to William Floyd’s Emily Fernandez in a consolation match.
Photo caption: Bishop McGann-Mercy seventh-grader Rose Hayes prior to her Division IV singles final against Eastport-South Manor junior Jackie Bukzin. (Credit: Bob Liepa)