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Top Sports Stories 2017: Mercy tennis player wins division title

If there’s one sport that Bishop McGann-Mercy has continually excelled at, look no further than girls tennis. In 2016, the Monarchs compiled one of the best seasons in program history.

It was going to be tough for the Monarchs to match that in 2017, but what they did do was see an individual accomplishment that was unmatched.

That started with the eighth-grade sensation Rose Hayes.

Hayes became the first singles player from the high school to ever win a division championship. She accomplished that feat in October when she defeated the highly talented Jackie Bukzin of Eastport-South Manor, 7-5, 7-5.

“She just really is just a fighter,” Mercy coach Mike Clauberg said after the match. “She refuses to lose. She’ll run every ball down, any ball that’s impossible to get, she just never stops.”

It was a rematch of last year’s final, when Bukzin took down the youngster from Mercy, 6-0, 6-0. But a lot changed in a year.

It wouldn’t be long before the two tennis players faced each other again. They both advanced into the finals of the county tournament, where Bukzin got her revenge on Hayes. Bukzin won 6-2, 6-3 to defeat the top-seeded Hayes.

While it wasn’t the ending Hayes envisioned, she still earned a trip to the state tournament to compete against the best of New York. Hayes had a strong showing, winning her first two matches of the tournament before falling in the quarterfinals against No. 2 seed Caitlyn Ferrante of Yorktown. Ferrante ended up taking third.

The Monarchs had a successful run as a team as well, earning the No. 10 seed in the Section XI tournament. They won their first playoff match against Sayville before falling to No. 7 Westhampton.

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