Spring preview: Staples girls tennis carries deep roster, lofty hopes
Updated 10:11 am, Wednesday, March 27, 2013
It's been 11 years since the Staples High girls tennis team last won the FCIAC and 10 years since it last captured a state title.
With the return of the team's No. 1 singles player, junior Melissa Beretta, the Wreckers are hoping to change that soon.
"We'd like to compete to win the FCIACs and states every single year. I don't see any reason why the girls team at Staples can't," said Paco Fabian, the team's first-year coach.
Fabian, who coached the school's boys team from 2003 to 2005, praised his team's depth and chemistry. He said on Tuesday that the varsity roster includes 12 players, all of whom will start matches at some point this season.
Fabian is the director and tennis pro at Easton Racquet Club.
"Most of our JV girls could start on varsity teams. We're very deep and we're very lucky to have that," he said. "It's hard to make the starting lineup."
Baretta is locked into the top singles spot after finishing 12-4 in that position in 2012. She is determined to at least match that record, and possibly improve it.
"I had a good year. There were some tough matches," she said. "I'm hoping to keep the same record or do better this year, and help take the team to an FCIAC championship and a state championship."
Baretta said that she's trained at Intensity Fitness and Tennis Club in Norwalk with some of the top competitors from the FCIAC. She's confident that she can challenge for the conference's top spot.
"A lot of us at the top spots all throughout the FCIAC, we are definitely equal contenders," she said. "There's not going to be one girl that's blowing everyone else out of the water. That's a cool place to be at as a tennis player, to be competing against people who are very much at your level."
Seniors Leah Bradley, Frankie Lynch and Alexis Teixeira will captain Staples and will fill in at either singles or doubles. The Wreckers' other top players include junior Kelsey Shockey and sophomores Gabi Titlebaum, Avery Wallace, Xenia Bradley and Alex Collins. Freshmen twins Julia and Callie Bartimer are also expected to contribute.
"We'll probably rarely ever have the same lineup because we're so deep," said Fabian, whose team opens the season April 3 at Trinity Catholic.
Last year, Staples lost 4-3 to Darien in the FCIAC quarterfinals and fell 6-1 in Class L state quarterfinals to Greenwich, the eventual runner-up.
Beretta is eager to lead the Wreckers deeper into the postseason but said she doesn't feel much pressure. As she noted on Tuesday, she'll need help from her teammates for the Wreckers to make a run.
"We all know that it takes a team to win a match. ... You have to win four matches to get the (team) win," she said.
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