Bears put a scare into top-ranked Marlboro

East Brunswick tennis team can

By doug mckenzie
Staff Writer

By doug mckenzie
Staff Writer

From the very beginning of Tuesday’s Central Jersey Group IV final, the East Brunswick tennis team seemed poised to upset the state’s top team.

The Bears entered the highly anticipated final with nothing to lose, taking on a Marlboro team which has distinguished itself as the team to beat in this year’s state tournament. And in the beginning, East Brunswick looked like a team ready to end all of that.

The Bears jumped out to leads in four of the five matches, lead by Vivek Subramanian at first singles. Subramanian was battling with Marlboro’s superb freshman, John Boym, and jumped out to a 4-1 lead en route to an impressive 6-3, 6-3 win.

The win was a big one on a personal level for Subramanian, as Boym was coming off an upset of the state’s top-ranked player, Gal Horovits of Ocean, the day before. Horovits is the top seed in the upcoming state individual tournament, followed by Subramanian and Boym.

With the win, Subramanian hoped to set the tone for his teammates, who were looking equally strong, for the most part, in the early going.

While Ross Cohn was having his troubles with Marlboro’s Andrew Sharnov, falling 6-0, 6-1, Ross Switkes was having his way with Steve Morris in the first set, eventually winning that set. But Switkes was unable to maintain the edge and eventually fell, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

East Brunswick’s first doubles team suffered a similar fate, as Jay Kaplan and Ilya Kazakin-Kuteyev got off to a fast 3-2 start, before dropping their match to Lan­don Goodman and Jason Schwartz, 6-4, 6-3.

At second doubles, John Cohen and David Liu also got off to a fast start in their match against Evan Harris and Alex Fleyshmakher, taking the early 4-3 lead. But, like their teammates, they went on to lose the first set, 6-4. They did, however, come back to win the second set 6-7 (7-2), before eventually dropping the third and deciding set, 6-3.

While the Bears were eliminated from the state team tournament, Tuesday’s match will go a long way towards giving each player some added confidence head­ing into the state individual tournament.

As a group, the Bears challenged to the state’s top team, one which went through the season in cruise control in the Shore Conference, a hotbed for tennis in the state.

East Brunswick went into Tuesday’s match as the top team from the Greater Middlesex Conference. After giving Marl­boro a scare, they earned their place among the state’s top teams.

While Subramanian is the No. 2 seed in the state individual tournament, he is one of just seven local players who will be par­ticipating.

Old Bridge’s Jason Lefkowitz, South Brunswick’s Shangril Shah, Sayreville’s Greg Czachor and North Brunswick’s Pa­van Wunnava are all scheduled to play on May 31 in the first round of the singles tournament, while Old Bridge’s double tandem of Andrew Godzwon and Eugene Nayvett will also be competing.