Staples girls tennis advances to FCIAC final
Updated 6:31 am, Saturday, May 23, 2015
The strength of the Staples girls tennis team is that it has at least a dozen players with roughly equally skill sets. Though many of the teams in the FCIAC have an elite player or two that can compete with the best of the state, the Wreckers possess enough depth to compete with anyone.
Staples continued its memorable season with a 4-3 win over rival Darien in the FCIAC semifinals on Friday afternoon. The Wreckers will play for its first FCIAC title since 2002 on Wednesday against defending champion Ludlowe at Wilton High School.
The Wreckers improved to 18-1 after defeating the Blue Wave for a second time this season.
"It feels pretty amazing, it's kind of indescribable," Staples senior Avery Wallace said. "Our No. 3 doubles team all the way up to No. 1 singles; we are all so similar. We have so much depth throughout the team."
Like it did in the quarterfinal round against Warde, Staples swept the three doubles spots to prevail.
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At No. 1 doubles, Wallace, teaming with sophomore Tess Rubin, defeated Erika Gill and Pia Teschner 7-6 (8-6), 6-3. The duo overcame a set point against them to prevail in the first set before winning the second more comfortably.
"The first set was stressful, they're a really strong team," Wallace said. "Pia has a really strong serve so it's hard to break her. It came down to us having energy and being aggressive; we had to be composed."
If continuity is a plus at this time of the season, Wallace and Rubin have that on their side as they've played the last two seasons together.
"(Rubin is) the best partner, we know each other really well," Wallace said. "We have great chemistry on the court, she's such an amazing tennis player and I'm lucky to have her as a partner."
The No. 2 doubles team of Kristen Butler and Megan Brown defeated Catherine Hatfield and Anna Barsanti 6-2, 6-3. The No. 3 team of Hannah Bjorkman and Olivia Datyz defeated Allegra Molkenthin and Susie Alptekin 6-2, 7-5.
"We've been pairing some matchups together all year," Staples coach Paco Fabian said. "We just put Olivia and Hannah together last week, and they really stepped up for us. We were hoping it would come down to (a point or two), because we really trust our doubles."
The Blue Wave earned three of four singles wins to keep their hopes of advancing alive. Kateri Martin dropped just one game in beating Vanessa Mauricio 6-0, 6-1, Mia Dursht defeated Alex Collins 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and Emilia Callery defeated Gabi Titlebaum 6-2, 6-2.
"It's so nice that anywhere throughout the lineup all our girls could beat each other," Fabian said. "It's hard to go against the top FCIAC singles players; I think Kateri Martin is the best player in the state. Someone like (Mauricio) to go out and play as hard as she did; we really respect that too."
The lone Staples singles win came at No. 4 where Olivia Foster beat fellow freshman Emily Neuner 6-3, 6-4.
The Wreckers have a chance to make history if they can defeat the Falcons, who handed Staples its only loss of the season in a 4-3 decision that came down to the wire.
"Ludlowe is the best team in the state, they've been the best team in the state for the last two years," Fabian said. "We're hoping to play them in the state tournament final."