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St. Francis Prep girls capture Mayor’s Cup team title

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“Out of one to 10,” she said, “I’d say I was about 20.”

That’s because the St. Francis Prep girls’ tennis team’s bid for a record fourth-straight Mayor’s Cup crown and a fourth consecutive undefeated season came...

By Dylan Butler

So how nervous was Martina Featherston?

“Out of one to 10,” she said, “I’d say I was about 20.”

That’s because the St. Francis Prep girls’ tennis team’s bid for a record fourth-straight Mayor’s Cup crown and a fourth consecutive undefeated season came down to the freshman’s third singles’ match.

It’s not the kind of pressure Featherston actively seeks, but tied at 4 in the third and final set, the Rockaway resident played error-free tennis to beat Brooklyn Tech’s Monica Myers, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 Sunday at the Carefree Racquet Club in Merrick.

The win was the Terriers 83rd straight, dating back to 1999 when the Terriers fell to Cardozo in the Mayor’s Cup.

“I knew I had to keep the ball in the court in order for me to win, and I did a good job of doing that,” Featherston said. “I switched my game around knowing that I had to hit it to her backhand and just keep my first serve in and she would just make a mistake.”

Featherston was right.

Myers, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the third set, was victimized by a number of unforced errors, including a forehand return that bounced over the baseline at match point.

For St. Francis Prep coach John Brennan, Featherston’s dramatic win was déjà vu, as three years earlier Lisa Vulin, a freshman playing third singles at the time, was the deciding factor in the Terriers’ first Mayor’s Cup win over Cardozo.

Against two-time PSAL champ Brooklyn Tech (14-2) though, Vulin struggled. The senior fell to Lya Kushnirovich in second singles, 6-1, 6-1.

“I knew they were going to pull it through in the end,” Vulin said.

St. Francis Prep (18-0) answered by sweeping doubles with Kathryn Sorokko and Kristina Frassanito beating Kim Chan and Sarah El-Edibili, 6-4, 6-3 in first doubles and Marianne Romanidis and Krissie Pafatis defeating Julia Haich and Janna Shapiro, 6-2, 6-2 in second doubles.

“Very often we win all three singles so the doubles feel like it doesn’t matter what they do, but it did matter,” Brennan said. “They had to win both doubles.”

“I guess I was relieved, but my heart was beating so fast,” added Pafatis, who along with Vulin are the only two seniors on the team. “But I knew they would do it. Martina was nervous but she did it.”

But then Featherston’s older sister, Ellenoire, dropped a dramatic 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) first singles match to Sonia Ruzimovsky to even the score at 2, and all eyes were on the younger Featherston to keep the Terriers’ streak alive.

“When I split sets I was like, ‘Oh, my God, guys, I’m going to be the only one left on the courts,’” Martina Featherston said. “I don’t like when people watch me, but it was fine and they ended up helping me through it.”

For Brooklyn Tech, the loss was a bitter pill to swallow with the core of its squad graduating next month.

“The effort that was put out by both teams was just outstanding. It’s what a final is all about and I’m very proud of my girls,” said Brooklyn Tech coach Maryann Marrano. “Unfortunately I’m going to lose a lot of them for next year so this was our chance to do it and we came really close. It was wonderful.”

Brooklyn Tech 4, Cardozo 1. Lillian Santos and Vivian Cheung won 10-5 in first doubles for Cardozo in the Mayor’s Cup semifinals Sunday.

On the boys’ side, Francis Lewis fell to Horace Mann in the semifinals Sunday at Point Set Tennis in Oceanside a day after Cardozo lost to Horace Mann at Columbia University.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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