The American Heritage Delray boys’ and girls’ tennis teams swept the District 13-2A team tennis titles recently at the Delray Beach Tennis and Swim Club.
Combined the teams have won 41 district championships and the boys have won 18 state championships — 10 girls and eight boys.
Defending Class 2A state champion George Kosseifi, a junior, ran his record to 14-1 with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over North Broward Prep’s Jacob Hartman at No. 1 singles. His only singles loss this year was against St. Andrew’s Ryan Nash. Kosseifi and Aajinkya Karnataki (AHD) defeated Jacob Hartzman and Felipe Ferreira, of North Broward Prep, 6-3, 6-4 to win at No. 1 doubles.
Kosseifi, 17, of Delray Beach, said the season to date has been enjoyable because his younger brother, Geoff, 12, a sixth-grader, has also been a member of the team.
“Although we lost a couple of seniors,” George said, “I love my team and we got some new players on the team in the lineup, and on top of that, including my younger brother is playing.
“It is a lot of fun,” he said. “It is a great experience and having a team behind your back is just great. Tennis is such an individual sport, but when you have a team with you, it relieves stress. It is incredible having the team supporting you.”
On April 9, he gave his verbal commitment to attend Case Western University in Ohio in 2023. They are the third-ranked team in the country in Division 3.
Junior Laura Buchs won the district title at No. 2 singles with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Lincoln Park’s Gabriella Bamabei and teamed with Helen Hendricks to down Jacklyn Dyer and Gabriella Bamabei, of Lincoln Park, 6-3, 6-0 to win at No. 1 doubles.
It is Buchs’ first year at the school after taking online classes with Florida Virtual School last year. She is 12-2 in singles.
“It is amazing to win the district championship,” said Buchs, 16, of Lake Worth. “It was a great experience and really fun with the team. Our team has a lot of different people so I thought we could get a lot of good results this season. I’ve never gone to states, so I am really excited, and Helen is a great player.
“Overall high school tennis, it has been really fun to learn new skills,” she said. “You get to be with your friends and there is a lot of good memories too. You get to be intense on the court and you are working hard.”
Stallions coach Brian Schleifer, who is in his 25th year at the school, is hoping to take the team back to the state championships. COVID-19 also played a part, however, the boys’ team hasn’t made it to the state tournament since 2019, while the girls are hoping to punch their ticket for the first time in four years.
“We knew we had a talented group this year,” he said. “I knew if they played the way they are capable of, we could have some good results. I am really pleased with the way they played not only today but the entire season. They performed well as a team and really pulled for each other.”
The boys finished the regular season at 12-2, losing to St. Andrew’s and Oxbridge.
“We are hoping to make it to states this season and have our work cut out for us,” said Schleifer, whose teams will host American Heritage Plantation in the regionals. “To make it back would mean a tremendous amount because the last couple of years it has been tough because of COVID cancellations. We have had individuals make it when the team hasn’t made it, so to make it back as a team would mean a great deal.”
In the boys’ district final matches, at No. 1 singles, George Kosseifi (AHD) defeated Jacob Hartman, of North Broward Prep, 6-0, 6-3; No. 2 singles: Aajinkya Karnataki (AHD) defeated Felipe Ferreira, of North Broward Prep, 6-2, 6-1; No. 3 singles, Ryan Rao (AHD) defeated Spencer Belville, of Jensen Beach, 6-1, 6-1; No. 4 singles: Geoff Kosseifi (AHD) defeated Mikulas Doukup, of North Broward Prep, 6-1, 6-2; No. 5 singles, Garrett Gauley (AHD) defeated Charlie Kroez, of Jensen Beach, 6-1, 6-0; No. 1 doubles: George Kosseifi and Karnataki (AHD) defeated Hartzman and Ferreira, of North Broward Prep, 6-3, 6-4; No. 2 doubles: Garrett Cauley and Jacob Rosenfield (AHD) defeated Mattia Calvi and Mikulas Soukup, of North Broward Prep, 6-0, 6-0.
In the girls’ district final matches, in No. 1 singles, Helen Hendricks (AHD) defeated Jacklyn Dyer, of Lincoln Park, 6-2, 6-2; No. 2 singles: Laura Buchs (AHD) defeated Gabriella Bamabei, of Lincoln Park, 6-2, 6-0; No. 3: Kristina Despotuli (AHD) defeated Samantha Mirrer, of North Broward Prep, 6-3, 6-0; No. 4: Chloe Barreto-Massad (AHD) defeated Juliane Ball, of Lincoln Park, 6-4, 6-0; No. 5: Neeraja Poonjolai (AHD) defeated Zara Chowdury, of Lincoln Park, 6-1, 6-0; No. 1 doubles: Hendricks and Buchs (AHD) defeated Dyer and Bamabei, of Lincoln Park, 6-3, 6-0; No. 2 doubles: Mira Lerner and Sabine Rudolph, of Jensen Beach, defeated Norah Smucker and Ally Tiongson (AHD), 7-5, 6-1.