Staples girls tennis fends off Wilton
Updated 9:24 pm, Monday, April 10, 2017
WESTPORT—The Staples girls tennis team had yet to be tested in any of first three contests of the season.
That changed in a big way against Wilton Monday. Three three-set matches pushed Staples farther than it had and the nerves were certainly there. As the afternoon extended though, the Wreckers talent shined through.
The Wreckers remained undefeated with a 6-1 win over the Warriors, which included several pressure-packed moments. With lofty goals for May and the season only a week old, Staples coach Paco Fabian was pleased with the way his team responded.
“We had to rise and play our best and Wilton was a really good team,” Fabian said. “I think Wilton will be one of the top of teams in the FCIAC and it was good for our girls to get pushed. We really stepped up when it mattered in the third sets.”
Staples’ newest edition came in the form of freshman Alyssa DiMaio, one of the top ranked players in her age group. DiMaio beat Wilton sophomore Natalie Ivanov 7-5, 6-0; a win that may not have gone to the Wreckers in previous seasons.
“It’s something that we haven’t had in years,” Fabian said. “Alyssa is a phenominal freshman and she’s going to keep improving as the season goes on and all of these close matches are good for her. It makes that much better than we were in the past to have a standout No. 1 player.
Her presence has allowed teammates Vanessa Mauricio and Tess Rubin — who is currently sidelined — to slide down in the order and dominate the lower singles spots. With all the pieces in place, the Wreckers are fielding one of the most complete teams they’ve ever had.
“This is the deepest team we’ve had so far,” said Wreckers doubles player Meghan Brown. “Every position is important on and off the court. Any player can pretty much play every position.”
Mauricio beat Wilton’s Jelena Sypher 6-2, 6-1 and filling in at No. 4 singles, Olivia Gordy beat Cara Kilmartin 6-1, 5-7, 6-0.
The Wreckers swept all three doubles, though the No. 1 team of Brown and Kristin Butler got an unexpected test from Rachel Low and Amber Li. Brown and Butler took the first set 6-2, but fell 7-5 in set two. The pair regrouped quickly, and dominated the third set 6-0.
“They were a really great team it just came down to us building our moment in the third set and keeping the pace fast,” Brown said. “We definitely had to adjust, we tried to counter their strategy. We had to get on our game as fast as possible.”
The Warriors entered the game on the back of wins over Westhill and Norwalk to start the season, and showed its mettle against the Wreckers. Playing at the No. 2 singles spot Isabella Koziol — another standout freshman — rallied to top Olivia Foster 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in a two-and-a-half-hour marathon battle.
“They have some very good players and Wilton is going to be good for years to come,” Fabian said. “They’ve stepped up and their top two singles players are very good; they make their program a lot better.”