10/16/12 8:30pm
10/16/2012 8:30 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Aimee Manfredo prepares for her Division IV singles match against Jackie Bubzik of Eastport-South Manor Tuesday afternoon.

The yellow visor Aimee Manfredo wore came off early in the first set of her Division IV singles championship match Tuesday afternoon. Struggling to place her serves on a windy afternoon and with her deficit growing against a hard-hitting seventh-grader, Manfredo ripped the visor off and tossed it onto the court at William Floyd High School.

The frustration was setting in for the defending champion as she muttered to herself under her breath.

“When I do things that might seem negative that helps me just let it all out and then I can focus better,” the Shoreham-Wading River junior said. “Throwing down my hat and screaming once or twice usually helps with that.”

No one knows better than Manfredo. After falling behind 4-1 in the first set against Jackie Bukzin, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, Manfredo rallied for the next five points to take the first set, 6-4. Soon after, she put the finishing touches on a 6-3 win in the second set to clinch the singles title for the second straight year.

She improved to 14-0 on the season and has yet to be pushed to a third set in any match. The championship win sends her into the Section XI tournament starting this weekend, where she could begin as a top-four seed.

The match was the first between Manfredo and Bukzin and it proved to be worth the wait. The two went back-and-forth all match with impressive volleys, zipping the ball across the net on the backhand and forehand.

“They have similar games,” said Shoreham-Wading River coach Debbie Lutjen. “They both hit the ball, they’re both aggressive. They both move well. So it really was a great match.”

A fierce competitor on the court, Manfredo routinely scolded herself during her early struggles.

But she was enjoying the experience all along.

“I was having a blast,” she said. “It doesn’t look like it, but it’s like chess. You’re having fun, but nobody looks it. You never see a person smile during chess unless they get checkmate.”

Lutjen said she knew Manfredo — a bubbly girl off the court — could bounce back from the early hole, even if she dropped the first set.

“I have been in awe of how well she’s played this year,” she said. “She needs to stay focused, stay positive. You don’t want to have any negative thoughts in your mind. But she got past that in the beginning.”

While both players are small in stature, they had little trouble generating impressive speed on their hits. Both players struggled with their serves at times as a stiff wind blew across the court from west to east.

It made for two different styles of play depending on which side of the court the player was on.

“On one side you’re trying to hit through the wind,” Manfredo said. “On the other side you kind of have to play with the wind. It’s completely different.”

Lutjen said there were more double faults than expected, requiring the players to lower the toss on their serve.

“You have to make adjustments,” she said.

A varsity member since seventh grade and a year-round tennis player, Manfredo travels to a club in Bethpage five times a week in addition to practices with the school team. She estimated she practices tennis about four hours a day.

The experience proved valuable in a tough match against a younger opponent.

In the normal league season playing for the Wildcats, Manfredo didn’t face an opponent quite on the level of Bukzin. But she often faces players of similar caliber in her USTA Tournaments.

“I think it worked to my advantage,” she said of playing a hard-hitting opponent. “I got more in my rhythm rather than a lobbing fest.”

Bukzin undoubtedly has a bright future and could be a tough out in the county tournament. The top four singles player from each division tournament advance to the county tournament.

Manfredo had a first-round bye in the division tournament before recording wins over Molly Kowalski (6-0, 6-1) and Carly Grossman (6-1, 6-0). In the semifinals Monday she won 6-3, 6-3 against McGann-Mercy senior Cassidy Lessard, who finished fourth in the tournament.

Lessard lost in the consolation final, 6-2, 6-1, against Noa Dubin of Southampton.

Manfredo said her upcoming goal for the county tournament is a top-three finish to earn a spot at the state championship.

“Last year I think I was one shy of making it to states,” she said.

Lutjen added: “I know her goal is she’d love to go to the state tournament and that’s what she’s been working hard for. If she plays well, I believe she can do it.”

joew@timesreview.com

10/01/12 10:37pm
10/01/2012 10:37 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | McGann-Mercy senior Cassidy Lessard competes in a match earlier this season.

Nothing comes easy in League VII.

The McGann-Mercy girls tennis team fully expected the competition to be fierce every match this season and so far the Monarchs haven’t been disappointed.

The Monarchs dropped a tough match Monday afternoon on the road at East Hampton to fall to 3-4 in League VII. It was Mercy’s fourth league match that was decided by one point. East Hampton earned the 4-3 win, flipping the script on Mercy after the Monarchs won by the same margin in early September.

Mercy coach Mike Clauberg said he expected this match to be a tougher go-around compared to the earlier meeting.

“This is the first time they played at full strength,” he said.

The Bonackers were shorthanded through the first half of the league season — one girl was in Germany for two weeks — which made their 1-5 league record coming into Monday a little deceiving.

“I thought it was going to be 4-3 either way,” Clauberg said. “It’s tough playing at East Hampton.”

Mercy first singles player Cassidy Lessard faced off against Abby Okin in a rematch from earlier in the season. Lessard, a senior captain, defeated Okin in three sets when they met at Mercy.

This time, in another three-setter, it was Okin emerging victorious. She won 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to help East Hampton clinch the match.

“It was a close battle,” Clauberg said. “That match can go either way.”

Mercy picked up wins at second doubles, third and fourth singles.

The league schedule has pitted Mercy against two of the top 10 teams on Long Island in Ross and William Floyd. Mercy lost to both teams and will face them both again.

The Monarchs are 5-0 this season against teams outside of League VII, lifting their overall record to 8-4.

joew@timesreview.com

09/24/12 9:50pm
09/24/2012 9:50 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead junior Lydia Keiffert teamed up with senior Charlotte Palmer in first doubles Monday against Connetquot.

THUNDERBIRDS 6, BLUE WAVES 1

Records can be deceiving, especially in a sport like tennis where the top teams in each division are bunched together in one league.

Connetquot arrived in Riverhead Monday afternoon still searching for its first win of the season. The Thunderbirds, at 0-6, were the last winless team in League III, the upper league of Division II, which features some strong competition.

The Thunderbirds finally broke into the win column with a 6-1 non-league victory over the Blue Waves at Riverhead High School.

“They were a balanced team,” said Riverhead coach Jerry Duvall. “They had good volley shots and good serves. Not overpowering, but very steady.”

The lone win for the Blue Waves came at fourth singles with a 6-3, 6-3 win by sophomore Samantha Carter over Jess Breitweg.

Riverhead mixed up its lineup by pairing its top two singles players into a first doubles team. The duo of Charlotte Palmer and Lydia Keiffert lost 6-4, 6-0 in a match that was closer than the second set score would indicate.

It was the third time this season Palmer, a senior, and Keiffert, a junior, played together in doubles.

Only one match in singles went to a third set and that came at third singles. After falling 6-1 in the first set, Michelle Behr bounced back to win 6-1 in the next game. But Mackenzie Martschi of Connequot rallied to win the decisive third set, 6-4.

With Palmer and Keiffer in doubles, senior Alex Quintana got the opportunity to move up to first singles. She lost 6-2, 6-0 against Colleen Moltzen.

The Blue Waves fell to 3-5 overall. They’re 3-4 in League VIII, the lower league of Division IV. Already at the midway point of the league season, the Blue Waves resume the second half of their schedule Thursday at Mattituck.

joew@timesreview.com

09/10/12 8:00pm
09/10/2012 8:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Mercy senior Marianne Naleski starts at second singles for the Monarchs.

Advanced scout work may seem like something reserved for coaches in football, basketball or lacrosse at the high school level.

But tennis?

At McGann-Mercy, where over the last seven years the Monarchs have developed into one of the top teams in Suffolk County, scouting may prove to be a huge key. Mercy coach Mike Clauberg said depending on the opponent, he can shift around his lineup between singles and doubles to find the best combination.

Competing in League VII, one of the toughest in the county, the Monarchs will need every advantage they can get to consistently win matches.

“Whatever we want them to do, they’re willing to do it,” Clauberg said. “Sometimes kids can’t be that versatile, but we have a couple kids that really are that versatile.”

The Monarchs’ record over the past four seasons speaks for itself: 50-2 in league. The Monarchs come into this season after a run to the quarterfinals of the county playoff tournament last year, where they fell 4-3 as the No. 7 seed to Half Hollow Hills West.

Competing in the more competitive league of Division IV last season, the Monarchs surprised some teams by finishing in second place. This year the Monarchs were again predicted to finish in the middle of the pack of League VII. But the Monarchs proved last year that preseason predictions don’t always mean much.

Mercy already has gotten off to a fast start this season by knocking off Westhampton, 4-3, Friday.

“Making the county tournament is definitely what our goal is,” Clauberg said.

While the Monarchs lost a few key players from last year, they do return some experienced players along with some newcomers from the JV.

Senior captain Cassidy Lessard, a third-year varsity player, will start off at first singles. Lessard was an all-division player last year and can play doubles as well.

Senior co-captain Marianne Naleski will play second singles and junior co-captain Shannon Merker will switch between third singles and first doubles. Merker was all-county last year in doubles, but her partner graduated. Junior Jackie Zaweski returns to play singles and doubles.

Sophomore Delaney Macchirole, the only other returnee from last season, will play doubles. She’s started off the season playing with sophomore Micaela Zebroski.

Junior Brittany Folkes, sophomore Magdalena Duda and freshmen Jamie Lessard and Kathleen Brownfiel will all play doubles as well. Lessard played on the JV last year as an eighth-grader and Brownfiel was the first singles player for the junior high team.

Freshman Margaret Naleski and sophomore Catherine Tumminello will also play doubles.

If there’s one thing the Riverhead girls tennis team won’t have to worry about this year, it’s having enough girls to fill the lineup each match. The Blue Waves, after an 8-6 season last year in League VIII, come into the season with a deep roster of 18 players.

Riverhead coach Jerry Duvall said with as many seniors as the team has, he didn’t want to make any cuts.

“The kids have a great attitude,” he said. “We had a super tryout week. A lot of close matches.”

The Blue Waves have plenty of depth, but many players are new to the varsity.

“Most of them are pretty strong,” Duvall said. “Hopefully once they get over the varsity jitters, they’ll play even better.”

Riverhead split its first two matches of the season, losing to defending league champion Mattituck, 5-2, and then beating Shelter Island, 6-1.

Duvall said he expects the team this year to have a good balance between singles and doubles. Last year, singles turned into a real strong point for the Blue Waves.

Starting off at first singles is junior Charlotte Palmer, a returnee who played some singles and doubles last season. Junior Lydia Keiffert moves up a spot to play second singles and junior Alex Quintana also bumps up a spot to play third singles. Junior Michelle Behr will start off at fourth singles.

“Kids are playing new positions pretty much,” Duvall said.

The Blue Waves’ two wins against Mattituck came at the second and third doubles spots, an encouraging sign to start the season in terms of the team’s depth.

Early on the Blue Waves are still trying to find the best combinations for doubles with all the players they have.

Seniors on the team include Danielle Alaimo, Juana Dobrzynski, Elia Gordon and Evelyn Greenwood.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Aimee Manfredo won the Division IV title last year and is looking for even bigger things this season.

The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats won’t have the luxury Riverhead has when it comes to depth. The Wildcats open the season with 10 girls on the varsity, the minimum needed to play a match.

What the Wildcats may lack in depth they make up for in star power up front with junior Aimee Manfredo.

The defending Division IV champion, Manfredo has played on varsity since seventh grade, making this her fifth year on varsity.

Shoreham coach Debbie Lutjen said Manfredo has returned an even stronger player than last season.

“She’s an all-court player,” Lutjen said. “I think overall her strokes are even stronger this year. She’s very motivated to succeed.”

Manfredo enters the season as the favorite to win the division crown again. This year, however, her goal is to advance farther in the county tournament.

She lost in the quarterfinals last season.

“This year hopefully she can possibly make it to the state tournament,” Lutjen said.

The Wildcats were strong as a team last season as well, posting a 10-4 record in League VIII.

At second singles the Wildcats return senior Emma Stoll. Senior Natalia Rodriguez returns for third singles and senior Kiera Latham will play fourth singles.

The first doubles team to start has been senior Jaclyn La Sita and sophomore Anna Simos. Junior Rebecca Rhodes and Breslyn Naso play second doubles and freshmen Cassidy Latham and Michelle Hoffmann play third.

Nine players from last year’s team graduated.

The Wildcats opened the season with a 6-1 loss against William Floyd, typically one of the stronger teams in the county.

Lutjen said she’s hoping to recruit a few more players to round out the team in case any players get injured along the way.

The Wildcats will face a much tougher schedule this year as they moved up to League VII, the upper league of Division IV.

“My philosophy is if you play better competition, it’s going to make you better,” Lutjen said.

joew@timesreview.com

10/18/11 6:31pm
10/18/2011 6:31 PM

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Aimee Manfredo prevailed in a three-hour three-setter to claim the Division IV singles title.

Patience is not exactly Aimee Manfredo’s forte.

Manfredo has a number of qualities that make her a formidable tennis player. She hits a ball with gusto, giving it everything she has. She can make shots from sharp angles. She is an efficient server.

But patience? That doesn’t appear to be part of her makeup. The Shoreham-Wading River High School sophomore wants to finish points ASAP. The sooner, the better.

“I do dislike testing my patience because I’m not a patient person,” she said. “I like to end the point. I like to be the one hitting the winners.”

Manfredo and her patience were both put to the test on Tuesday. The biggest match of her career was not played the way she would have preferred, but she couldn’t complain about the result.

Manfredo was one game from defeat in the second set, but survived that and prevailed over Mattituck senior Erica Bundrick, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, in the Suffolk County Division IV singles final on an unseasonably warm October afternoon in Shoreham. In a match that lasted about three hours, Manfredo (17-1) had no choice but to be patient.

“Maybe if I was more patient it wouldn’t have gone to a third set,” she said.

The fact that it did, however, is a testament to Manfredo’s fighting spirit. She proved herself capable of performing under pressure.

Bundrick (12-3) employed a defensive strategy of safe shots and high lobs in an attempt to counter Manfredo’s all-out, hard-swinging style. It worked to some degree, producing long rallies. Bundrick took the first three games of the match and used that momentum to claim the first set. Manfredo, who made 41 unforced errors to 15 by Bundrick, found herself trailing, 5-3, in the second set, yet composed herself and took the final four games of the set by a combined score of 16-3.

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | Mattituck senior Erica Bundrick employed a conservative approach in the division final.

“When [Bundrick] was up 5-3 in the second set, she needed to come out firing,” Mattituck coach Jim Christy said. “Aimee basically won the match because she fired away, and when she was in a hole, she didn’t back off. She just said, ‘I got to up my game,’ and to her credit, she did. Aimee hit the ball the way she’s supposed to hit it at the time she had to hit that way, and she did that at big moments.”

The match swung in Manfredo’s favor. “It was a great weight lifted off my shoulders after I won that second set,” she said.

It showed in her play, too. The unforced errors are partially a product of Manfredo’s aggressive approach, but she also hit some remarkable shots. Bundrick somehow managed to get a racket on some of them to keep the ball in play.

“It surprised me that she got to a lot of balls,” Manfredo said. “There were a couple of times when I had her on the run, and I was like: ‘Yeah, oh! I have to hit another shot.’ ”

Bundrick’s skill at returning the ball tested Manfredo’s patience further.

Serving consistency was in Manfredo’s favor. She committed only three double faults, and her percentage on first and second serves was 80 percent and 93 percent, respectively. Bundrick double faulted 14 times. Her first- and second-serve percentages were 66 and 60.

But Bundrick’s downfall, more than anything else, might have been her reluctance to attack balls near the net when the opportunities presented themselves. For her part, Manfredo showed no reluctance going for winners.

“What is fascinating is she swings about as hard as she can swing,” Christy said. “She never lets up.”

What was Bundrick’s take on the match?

“I think I played pretty good,” she said. “I had a chance in the second set to pull it out, but she just played really good toward the end of that” set.

Manfredo stuck to a game plan that Shoreham-Wading River coach Debbie Lutjen declined to outline in case the two players meet again in the county tournament. Lutjen said Manfredo’s determination and will won the day for her.

“She did not give up,” the coach said. “Aimee was able to be patient enough to wait for her openings.”

Manfredo is 6-1 in her career against Bundrick. The only time Bundrick beat her was in the quarterfinals of last year’s division tournament.

After the final point was scored Tuesday, Manfredo looked happy and relieved.

“I just feel so happy right now after that,” she said. “It’s a great accomplishment.”

MERCY DOUBLES TEAM LOSES IN FINAL Erica Blanco and Shannon Merker of Bishop McGann-Mercy reached the Division IV doubles final before bowing out to the Westhampton Beach duo of Remy Kneski and Sammi Vickers, 6-3, 6-3. Blanco, a senior, and Merker, a sophomore, have a 14-3 record.

bliepa@timesreview.com

10/13/11 8:30pm
10/13/2011 8:30 PM

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Ashley Etienne played first doubles Thursday for Shoreham-Wading River.

Mattituck girls tennis coach Jim Christy called it a race against the rain.

The rain won.

The undefeated Tuckers had a chance to clinch the League VIII title outright Thursday afternoon at Shoreham-Wading River, but a light mist ultimately made the courts too slick for the match to reach its conclusion.

At the time play was stopped, the Tuckers had two victories in the books. The match will be picked up where it left off next Tuesday.

The Tuckers are 12-0 in league and 14-0 overall. The Wildcats came into the match in second place at 10-2 and 10-5 overall.

The marquee matchup at first singles featured Erica Bundrick for the Tuckers and Aimee Manfredo of Shoreham. The two have had their share of battles in recent years and last season Bundrick was the only player to defeat Manfredo. That came in the quarterfinals of the division tournament.

Manfredo won the first match earlier this season and was leading against Bundrick when play was halted Thursday. She won the first set and was leading 2-1 in the second set.

Bundrick is 12-2 this season and Manfredo is 12-1. The two could very likely meet again in the division tournament before they would finish their match from Thursday. The division tournament begins Saturday at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

The wins for Mattituck Thursday came at second singles and third doubles. Olivia Cardinale won 6-0, 6-1 at second singles against Jaclyn La Sita. The third doubles team of Molly Nolan and Siobhan Nolan won 6-0, 6-0 against Brielle Mauder and Courtney Hauf.

The Tuckers can clinch the league title outright tomorrow when they host Riverhead. But rain is once again in the forecast.

The Wildcats still have a match against Eastport-South Manor next Wednesday. It was originally scheduled for yesterday.

joew@timesreview.com

10/13/11 7:25pm

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy's first singles player, Ashley Yakaboski, and her teammates are pursuing the team's fourth straight league championship and fifth since 2000.

The process of determining the Suffolk County League VII girls tennis champion has been extended to the final day of the league season, plus one.

Players, coaches and fans will have to wait until at least Friday to see if the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs claim a share of their fourth straight league championship and fifth since 2000.

McGann-Mercy’s final regular-season match was suspended on Thursday after an accumulation of a fine mist and light rain settled on the tennis courts at Southampton High School, making for slippery conditions. None of the six individual matches that were being played had gone beyond three games before the coaches, Mike Clauberg of McGann-Mercy and Rich Wingfield of Southampton, called their players off the court. The contest has been scheduled to resume tomorrow afternoon.

“It’s something you can’t control,” Wingfield said. “… What’s happened is safety first. At the end of the day, what I feel good about is that we made the decision in favor of the kids. The courts are too wet, they becomes hazardous, let’s call it. They’ll come back and fight another day.”

McGann-Mercy (12-2, 7-2) started the day in second place behind the Westhampton Beach Hurricanes (9-2, 8-1), who were matched against the William Floyd Colonials (10-3, 6-3) at the same time. A Westhampton Beach loss, coupled with a McGann-Mercy win, would earn the Monarchs a share of first place.

“The fact that this program has come this far, we could be neck and neck with Westhampton, I think that says something for us,” said Clauberg.

Clauberg said his team has been a surprise this season, and contends that some teams don’t respect the Monarchs.

But Wingfield isn’t buying any of that. The Monarchs went 16-3 last year, and have a 58-7 record over the past four years.

“Believe me, nobody underestimates Mercy,” Wingfield said. “Mercy, not just their tennis, I think their whole athletic program is on the rise. Everybody’s saying: ‘Hey, wait a minute. Don’t sleep on Mercy.’ So those days are gone where somebody is going to pencil in a ‘W’ because they’re playing Mercy, because what Mercy has done is taken that ‘M’ [in Mercy] and flipped it around the other way” to a ‘W.’

Entering the final regular-season match, singles players Cassidy Lessard (12-2), Marianne Naleski (10-2) and Jackie Zaweski (11-3) all have winning records. Ashley Yakaboski, the first singles player, is 5-9.

But perhaps even more impressive is what the Monarchs’ three doubles teams have done. The first doubles team of Erica Blanco and Shannon Merker is 11-2. Stefanie Blanco and Delaney Macchirole, the No. 2 doubles pairing, are 13-1. The third doubles team of Caitlin Lawler and Alyssa Mize are 10-4.

“He has a great group of kids,” Wingfield said. “The results are just evident. Those kids are playing great tennis. He has them feeling confident in themselves and that’s important.”

The Monarchs are winners of their last 11 matches. They defeated the Southampton Mariners, 6-1, when the teams met in Riverhead on Sept. 19. Southampton is 2-9, 1-8, and has lost its last three matches.

Coming off the team bus before the match, the Monarchs looked like they were all business as they marched in double file toward their team bench and what they hope will be another league crown. But if the Monarchs are to continue their league-title run, they will have to be patient and wait another day for it.

“We have to see what happens,” Clauberg said. “It is what it is. I think we exceeded our standards. We improved tremendously. Everybody across the board has improved so much this year that regardless of what happens with Westhampton and what happens with us with Southampton, it’s been a successful season.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

10/11/11 8:00pm
10/11/2011 8:00 PM
Aimee Manfredo, Tennis

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Aimee Manfredo improved to 12-1 this season after her victory Tuesday.

SWR 7, SOUTHOLD/GREENPORT 0

On the rare occasion Aimee Manfredo is not on a tennis court, it’s a good bet she’s in the gym working out to get stronger and improve her game. She started playing tennis at age 6 and hasn’t looked back since.

“This is my life,” she said after posting her 12th win of the season Tuesday afternoon for Shoreham-Wading River.

What does she do when not playing tennis?

“Play more tennis,” she says with a laugh.

All that work has paid off for the Shoreham sophomore. Her win against Sara Stromski of Southold/Greenport at first singles brought her record for the last two years to 29-2. Most of her matches this season have been relative yawners; ten of her 12 victories have been 6-0, 6-0.

The Wildcats defeated the Clippers in a sweep 7-0.

Against Stromski, a senior in her second year playing first singles, Manfredo faced one of her tougher opponents of the season. When the teams met for the first time in September, Manfredo had to miss the match due to family obligations. So the two faced each other for the first time Tuesday at Shoreham-Wading River High School in the final week of the regular season.

Manfredo prevailed 6-2, 6-0, but Stromski made her earn each point.

“It was competitive,” Manfredo said. “Better than my other matches. And [Stromski] was really nice so it made playing fun. That’s always a plus.”

Playing at first singles has meant facing one tough opponent after another for Stromski. While the wins haven’t always been there (3-9), she’s held her own in every match.

“She’s done a great job of trying to build up confidence and not get down on herself after a loss,” said Southold coach Allison Krupski. “As long as she plays well and plays her game as well as she knows how to play, then we’re happy either way.”

Krupski said Stromski’s performance against Manfredo was as well as she’s seen her play in a few weeks.

Jaclyn La Sita

Shoreham-Wading River junior Jaclyn La Sita won 6-3, 6-1 at second singles Tuesday against Southold/Greenport.

“Sara plays up when she meets an opponent like Aimee,” Krupski said. “It’s great for her personal experience with tennis.”

Manfredo came into the match off her first loss of the season. In a non-league match against The Stony Brook School Friday, Manfredo lost in three sets against Tylah Gantt. It’s been her only three-set match all season. Gantt won 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

“In the third set it’s a matter of stamina and hitting your shots,” Manfredo said.

Stony Brook plays in League V, part of Division III, so the two wouldn’t meet again until possibly the county tournament. The Wildcats and Clippers are in League VIII, part of Division IV.

Manfredo’s tough stretch will continue Thursday when she goes up against Erica Bundrick of Mattituck. Bundrick was responsible for the only blemish on Manfredo’s record last year. After losing to Manfredo in the regular season, Bundrick beat her in the quarterfinals of the division tournament, denying Manfredo a spot in the county tournament.

“We’re friends, but we’ve played each other so many times,” Manfredo said. “It’s my turn this year.”

Shoreham coach Debbie Lutjen said this string of competitive matches serves as good preparation for Manfredo going into the division tournament, scheduled to start Friday at Shoreham.

“Aimee’s having a great season and I’m glad she had the match she had today because she needs to play players like that who can hit the ball with her,” Lutjen said.

The Wildcats improved to 10-2 in league after the win against the Clippers (4-8). They’ve done it with a balanced lineup that has had success from top to bottom. While Manfredo has dominated, every other singles player for Shoreham has posted winning records.

Junior Jaclyn La Sita won 6-3, 6-1 at second singles against sophomore Alexandra Small to improve to 8-5. Junior Natalia Rodriguez and senior Nanette Stirpe both improved to 10-4.

Rodriguez won 6-3, 6-1 at third singles against senior Liz Anderson. Stirpe defeated sophomore Victoria Piechnik 6-2, 6-2 at fourth singles.

Stromski will be the only singles player for Southold who will compete at this weekend’s individual tournament. Krupski said her first doubles team of Shannon Quinn and Jessica Rizzo may play as well.

The two teamed up for the first time as freshmen last year and have continued to gain experience playing together.

“They’re starting to figure out how they need to communicate with each other, where they need to move, how they need to move,” Krupski said. “They’ve still got a lot to learn, but they’re making leaps and bounds for sure.”

Quinn and Rizzo forced the only three-set match against the Wildcats. They won the first set 7-5 against seniors Ashley Etienne and Nicole Smith before falling 6-2, 6-2.

The Wildcats also had wins at second doubles behind Kiera Latham and Emma Stoll. They won 6-4, 6-2 against Katherine Bertschi and Abby Schamdin. Shorheam’s third doubles team of Brielle Mauder and Courtney Hauf won 6-1, 6-2 over Shannon Smith and Mackenzie Feeley.

Each team has two matches to close out the league season before the division tournament begins.

And when it does, Manfredo will look to become the first Shoreham tennis player to win the division tournament since Kelley LoRusso won it in 2002 as a freshman. LoRusso played her next three years on the boys team before a four-year career at the University of Connecticut.

joew@timesreview.com