New Paltz — Couldn't blame Mike Reiss for having a chip on his shoulder or feeling slighted.

New Paltz — Couldn't blame Mike Reiss for having a chip on his shoulder or feeling slighted.

Elliot Fanshel of Kingston, one of Reiss' top rivals, playfully called out the Monroe-Woodbury senior, saying Reiss wasn't any better than last season.

It was Fanshel who received the top seed at this week's Section 9 tournament. Not Reiss, the defending champion, who was 2-0 vs. Fanshel this season and 6-0 overall. Reiss was unseeded.

Maybe that's why Reiss had a big smile after yesterday's section tournament was completed.

Reiss believes he made section history, becoming the first returning unseeded champion to defend his title.

"People were doubting me," Reiss said. "A lot of people said Mike is not at his best anymore. I took being unseeded as an insult. The only way to get back was to win. I played two unbelievable matches."

The doubts might have stemmed from Reiss pulling out of the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association quarterfinals last week because of ripped skin and a cut on the palm of his left hand, which is his forehand.

Shortly after pulling out, Reiss became his own medicine man. He bought an aloe plant and squeezed the juices out of it onto his cut.

"It just started to get better after that," Reiss said.

Reiss won the tournament in his typical fashion, frustrating Fanshel in the semifinals and Matt Burns of Minisink Valley in the final. While Fanshel and Burns were shouting at themselves about mishits and double faults, Reiss kept his usual cool. Reiss let out a few "C'mons" on forehand winners, and a "Yes!" after wins. His racket did most of the talking.

Reiss survived two tough first sets. He served out the first set against Fanshel and cruised to a 6-4, 6-0 win. Reiss benefitted from two straight double faults by Burns to give him the first set 7-5. Reiss took the second set 6-1.

"I missed shots in the center court that I don't usually miss," Fanshel said. "He kept getting the ball back. When you are down, he doesn't let up."


Rondout Valley juniors Dave and Mike Pfister don't like losing.

Heck, they don't even enjoy trailing in matches. The identical twins lost just three total games in three sets, heading into their section final against undefeated Jared Shafran and Liam Laird of Monroe-Woodbury.

After winning the first set 6-3, the Pfisters fell behind Shafran and Laird 5-4.

"It was weird not being in the lead," Dave Pfister said.

The Pfisters didn't trail for long. They reeled off the final three games of the match to win 7-5 and hand Shafran and Laird their first loss in 24 matches this season.

"We never lost confidence," said Mike Pfister, who placed third in the section last year with his brother.