By Mike Smollins
Now that the calendar has turned to read March, it is only a matter of time before the sun shines, the skies become all blue, and the grass grows back. Along with those great elements of spring comes the return of the tennis season.
On Saturday March 28, the men’s tennis team of the Ammerman Campus will play their first match of the season against Rockland CC. The tennis coach, Chris Cosenza, said he is very excited about his team’s opportunity to open up at home.
“We’ve been having our home matches at the Grant Campus the past couple of seasons,” said Cosenza. “Our courts [on the Ammerman Campus] were just redone so I am really looking forward to playing our matches at our home courts.” Finally, the men’s tennis team will play their home games at their actual home court. They hope their recent success will carry over to their home courts.
This is Cosenza’s seventh year coaching this team, and they have been practicing for the last couple of weeks at an indoor tennis club at the World Gym in East Setauket. Cosenza said that he hopes for the team to be practicing outside in the next few weeks, but it looks like it could be doubtful with the recent snowfall.
The men’s tennis team is no stranger to success. They have won the Region XV Tournament three out of the last four seasons. In an impressive note, the team has not lost a regional match in the past four years. In the year 2005, Cosenza won Coach of the Year. Cosenza said he is hopeful that his team can repeat this success, and thinks they have potential, but isn’t going to award them anything just yet.
” We are talented enough to win the region again; however, it is so difficult to predict success at this level. There is so much turnover from year to year at the community college level that you never know how talented teams are going to be from season to season.” Even with the turn over, Cosenza is still positive his team has enough talent.
During those three great seasons, the men’s tennis team even played in the NJCCA Nationals in Plano, Texas. During the Nationals, 12 to 14 teams play each year. The men’s tennis team’s best finish in the Nationals was in 2007, where they finished fifth.
Though this team is very talented, Cosenza knows that there are some teams they need to look out for. “It looks like Kingsborough CC and Dutchess CC will be our toughest matches.” The Ammerman tennis team plays Dutchess CC on the road on April 4. They play Kingsborough at home on their new courts on April 21 That will probably be their most crucial home game.
Though these two opponents will be very tough challenges, Cosenza said he feels he has the answer in two brothers: Tyler and Zach Schulz.
“I have these two brothers who transferred to the College this semester and they both played for Westhampton Beach High School.” Westhampton Beach is one of the best tennis schools in Suffolk County. “I’m expecting them to be big contributors to the team,” Cosenza said.
Cosenza and his squad are very hopeful for a successful season this year. They hope to once again do well in the Region XV Tournament and expand on their recent success. Cosenza said he couldn’t be any more excited. “Starting the season at home in front of family and friends is a great way to start the season,” he said.
While they look forward to starting the season at home, it’s where the season ultimately ends that’s most important. For this team, they know they have the talent, but can only hope the talent that they have transfers into success on the court.