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Judges rule PSAL boys’ tennis once again

"Things are right in the universe, but I want to give you a clue, Townsend Harris next year is going to be unbelievable," said Cardozo coach Howie Arons. "We're going to have to work very hard ... to play them because they're very strong and have everyone back."

It was a pair of first-year players who clinched the title for Cardozo (18-1), which has appeared in all but one city title match (1985) since 1982 and has now won 17 PSAL championships.

After Steve Nieman and David Chen beat Sotiris Georgiou and Matthew Kirschner, 6-1, 6-0, in first doubles and Jai Yoon cruised past Mike Malhame, 6-1, 6-0, in third singles, the second doubles team of freshman Roman Ashmyan and sophomore Ben Philip beat juniors Ethan Felder and Dain Lee, 7-5, 6-3, to hand the Judges the title.

"It feels pretty good," said Ashmyan, who was told during the match by teammates that he was playing in the deciding match. "And I'm planning for my next three years to win (the PSAL title)."

For a while it looked like Townsend Harris, a team that returns all but Kirschner next season, was in control as Felder and Lee led 4-0 in the opening set. But Philip held serve for the first time in the match and the duo reeled off five straight games en route to a 7-5 win.

"They got better, they played well and changed their strategy and they were playing good against us," Philip said. "But me and Roman worked it out after the fifth game of that set and we came back."

Townsend Harris (13-3), which upset Midwood and Brooklyn Tech to advance to the title match, won at second singles as freshman Sean Doerfler beat Ari Fiul, 6-1, 6-0, and led at first singles as Ari Gayer, the top seed in the upcoming PSAL individual tournament, took the first set from Alex Dobrin, 6-2.

But the Cardozo senior, who fell to Gayer twice in the regular season, rallied to take the second set, 6-3, and then took the decisive third set, 6-4.

"There are two players on the Townsend Harris team who live in the Cardozo district who five years ago never would have went to Townsend Harris; they would have come to Cardozo," Arons said. "It was a big deal because the two teams were so evenly matched. We never had competition in Queens before."

Midwood 3, Cardozo 2. Hours after every other match had been decided, Midwood's Carlissa King fought off three championship points and third-set leg cramps to defeat Cardozo's Afiya Lehans in second singles, 6-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), to clinch the PSAL Girls 'A' title for Midwood.

New Utrecht 3, John Bowne 2. Polina Zaretser, the top seed in the girls' individual tournament, won 6-1, 6-0 in first singles to lift the New Utrecht boys' to the PSAL 'B' city championship. Abhisher Kumar and Kennique Reynolds won in first doubles, 6-2, 6-1, and Harinde Singh and Mishail Sharma were victorious in second doubles, 6-2, 6-1.

Grover Cleveland 3, Boys & Girls 2. Lai Ting Cheng won 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 at second singles to lift a Grover Cleveland team that went 2-10 last year to the first-ever PSAL Girls 'B' crown.

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

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