In the top division of Queens boys’ tennis, Benjamin Cardozo stands alone. That doesn’t mean, however, that matches against neighborhood rivals Bayside are your usual 5-0 affair.
Bayside put up a fight on Monday, April 27, boosting the confidence of its improving program and giving Cardozo its only real test before the Judges enter the city playoffs with only one opponent – Manhattan’s Beacon School – on their minds.
The final team score was 4-1, with Bayside’s second doubles tandem of Samuel Allen and Dylan Sternberg breaking through with a 10-7 win over Christian Georges and Kevin Lee.
Otherwise, it was Cardozo all around. At first singles, Jonathan Raude overwhelmed Daniel Kandinov with powerful groundstrokes, drilling forehands into the corner and keeping Kandinov off-balance. The Baysider, helped by strong finishing up at the net, used his speed and all-court strategy to keep points alive, but Raude appeared to have slightly more control of each point of the 10-3 victory.
“He hits a heavy ball [that is] very overpowering,” Kandinov said. “I had to try to change pace.”
Don’t forget another subplot of this three-times-a-year affair: Bayside and Cardozo know each other uncommonly well, with Raude and Kandinov serving as prime examples. They hit together often, and they even play doubles together at United States Tennis Association tournaments.
“We’re pretty much on the court with each other every day,” Kandinov said.
They switch seamlessly from friends to adversaries as soon as school matches commence, even though Kandinov has known Cardozo head coach Howie Arons since he was five – and even though Bayside head coach James Malhame once played on Arons’ team. The two coaches were nothing but friendly throughout Monday’s two-hour contest.
Today, the gap between Cardozo and the rest of the ‘A-1’ division is substantial, although the Commodores are inching closer. Not once in any current Cardozo player’s high school tennis career has the team lost a league match; Bayside, meanwhile, has jumped from 3-7 to 7-3 in Malhame’s first two years as head coach. The Commodores will make the city playoffs.
“It’s like a new experience. It’s my first year getting into the playoffs,” said Bayside’s Michael Beringer, a senior who plays first doubles. “I never would have thought that we could have made the playoffs.”
“In a couple of years I hope to really compete with [Cardozo],” Malhame said.
For his part, Arons welcomes the new challenge.
“I like the competition, and it’s people I know well,” he said.
Elsewhere on the hard-court on Monday, Cardozo’s Wei Cheng Lin beat Daniel Sawchuk (10-0) and Roland John beat Shawn Kim (10-0), at second and third singles respectively. At first doubles, Cardozo’s Petros Georgiou and Joshua Cho defeated Beringer and Kue Min Hwang by the score of 10-5.
THE QUEENS COURIER/Photo by Alex Fumelli