Girls Tennis: Bundrick reaches quarters of county tourney; Mercy wins first round match

The turning point came midway through the first set.

Mattituck ‘s Erica Bundrick was leading Karen Serena, the No. 3-seed from East Islip, 3-1 in the quarterfinal round of the Suffolk County girls tennis individual championship Monday afternoon at Smithtown East. Bundrick, who had beaten Bayport’s Laura Torsiello, 6-4, 6-2, in the opening round on Saturday, was on the verge of taking a 4-1 lead against Serena.

But after Bundrick’s being on a marvelous roll the past three weeks, the one stroke that betrayed her was her serve. She double-faulted, which allowed Serena to climb back into the match at 3-2. Serena then ran the table on Bundrick, winning the match 6-3, 6-0.

“I was pleased with the way Erica played,” Mattituck coach Jim Christy said. “She just double faulted too many times. You just can’t give away points at critical moments.”

Christy said that part of Bundrick’s maturation process will be learning how to “deal with the highs and lows of a match.”

Bundrick, a junior, swept past Torsiello in the opening match.

“Erica played every point like it was the final point of the match,” Christy said. “She has learned that when you stay in the present, it brings consistency. When your head is set right, the strokes will follow.”

Christy said that Bundrick has learned that “when she is consistent, she can play with anybody.”

“The key is recognizing our potential,” he said. “If we don’t see it, we hold back and don’t play with confidence. Erica is a very good athlete. When she realized in the East Hampton match a few weeks ago that ‘I can play with these people,’ everything changed. She was able to move people around and make them change their game. Someone was going to break, but it wasn’t going to be her.”

In the Suffolk County team championship, the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs, the 24th-seed, pulled off an upset in the opening round on Oct. 21, winning at ninth-seeded Patchogue-Medford, 4-3.

Mike Clauberg, the Mercy coach, called the win “huge.”

Clauberg said that over the years he has felt his team has not always been seeded as high as it should have been.
“We’ve been in the playoffs the past couple of years, but we still get no respect,” he said. “But we still got the win. It was a big upset.”

Mercy was trailing in the overall match 3-2 and needed to win at second singles and second doubles to pull out the team victory.

The Monarchs had lost two of the first three singles matches, as Patchogue-Medford’s Hanna Lazio swept Mercy’s Ashley Yakaboski, 6-0, 6-0, and Alena Erhart topped Lindsey Merker, 6-1, 6-4. Mercy’s Cassidy Lessard topped Alicia Kraemer, 6-1, 6-0. Clauberg said that Lessard “really stepped up. She was in the zone.”
Mercy then split the first two doubles matches, as the Monarchs’ Kayleigh Macchirole and Erica Blanco triumphed over Cristina Valente and Brigid Logan, 6-2, 6-2. Patchogue-Medford’s Sydney Shandel and Victoria Makolik beat Maryann Naleski and Stefanie Blanco, 6-2, 6-3.

The second singles and second doubles matches were deadlocked at one set apiece.

“We needed both to win in the third set,” Clauberg said, “and that is just what they did.”

The Monarchs’ Elizabeth Barlow came from behind to defeat Brianna Vernoia, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

“After the first set, Elizabeth made the proper adjustments,” Clauberg said. “She really came up big.”

Now, it all came down to second doubles. Mercy’s Shannon Merker and Taryn Enck trailed Tiffany Maroquin and Kierstin Berwick 3-4 in the third set. But on a crucial stretch of points, Merker hit a magnificent lob and Enck put away the return shot to give the Monarchs the game and the momentum. Merker and Enck went on to win 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-4 to lift Mercy to the stunning upset.

Mercy was scheduled to play at eighth-seeded West Islip yesterday.

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