By Dylan Butler
Sixteen used to be a lucky number for Howie Arons.
But the Cardozo boys’ tennis coach saw his team’s bid for a 16th straight PSAL city championship quelled on Court 16 at the National Tennis Center Tuesday.
The Judges’ remarkable league win streak ended at 207 matches as Brooklyn Tech celebrated the city crown with an astonishing 3-2 win.
“I was 37 when we last lost and now I’m 53,” Arons said. “So in that spectrum, that’s pretty awesome but it had to happen. I expected exactly what I got.”
Playing the part of giant killer was Eugene Tsarevskyi, who wasn’t even born the last time Cardozo lost a league match. The Ukraine-born third singles player exorcised some personal demons by beating Ari Fiul in an epic three-set thriller, 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 6-4.
After Alex Vasin and Brian Quiban won in straight sets in first and second singles, Tsarevskyi had a chance to clinch the championship in the second set. But Fiul staved off two straight match points to win the second set, 7-5.
Trailing 3-1 in the third set, Tsarevskyi thought back to last year’s quarterfinals, when he blew six match points in a loss to Hunter College High School.
“It started running through my head, if I choke they are going to be champion for the 16th time in a row,” he said. “I started playing more consistently and he missed a couple of shots.”
Nearly three hours into the match, Fiul started cramping in his right arm and legs and dropped the next two games before rallying to hold serve at 4. But Tsarevskyi held serve and then broke Fiul to clinch the championship for Brooklyn Tech, which also won the girls’ title, beating McKee/Staten Island Tech, 4-1.
“I feel real bad I lost,” Fiul said. “I had the lead but I just couldn’t close it out. He played well.”
Jamaica wins PSAL ‘B’ title. While the result of the ‘A’ championship was a shock, there was no doubt the ‘B’ championship was coming to 168th street in Jamaica as neighbors Jamaica and Edison battled for the crown.
A year after a disappointing first-round exit to Grover Cleveland, Jamaica (14-0) capped an undefeated season by beating Edison for a fourth time this year, 3-2.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have kids who are willing to come in and practice on a Saturday at 9 a.m. and I have to tell them to leave,” said Jamaica coach Sue Sutera. “They just play and play and play.”
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.