Staples girls tennis defeats Darien
Published 8:12 pm, Monday, April 13, 2015
It took more than three hours of tennis to separate the Darien and Staples girls teams in a pulsating encounter on Monday afternoon between two of the FCIAC's best.
And for the second time in as many outings, the Wreckers pulled out a win in the match-deciding contest.
This time it was freshman duo Gabriela Vega and Hannah Bjorkman that were the heroes, rallying from a set down to defeat Darien's Allegra Molkenthin and Daphne Gray 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. The win sealed a dramatic 4-3 win for the Wreckers long after every other match had completed.
Vega and Bjorkman also trailed 4-2 in the decisive set before rallying.
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"At the beginning they were super nervous," Staples coach Paco Fabian said. "They knew they were playing a great team. I think them going down helped a little bit; regain their composure."
The Wreckers (3-0) defeated Greenwich 4-3 last Thursday under similar circumstances and get revenge on the Blue Wave, who eliminated Staples in the Class L semifinals last June.
"They knocked us out of states last year and we wanted a little payback this year," Fabian said. "This is a match we circled on our calendar and I'm just thrilled we could beat a top echelon team like that."
The teams split the four singles matches. At No. 1 singles Darien Sophomore Kateri Martin rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Vanessa Mauricio. Teammate Emilia Callery defeated Megan Brown 6-1, 6-4. Staples senior Alex Collins defeated Mia Dursht -- who was nursing an injury -- 6-3, 6-3, while freshman Olivia Foster defeated Emily Neuner 6-2, 6-0.
"Kateri is strong and for Emilia Callery that was a big match for her to see her get a win against a quality opponent," Darien coach David Gebauer said. "Unfortunately having (Dursht) not being 100 percent hurt."
With the Wreckers trailing 3-2 in the match, the doubles team of Avery Wallace and Tess Rubin defeated Erika Gill and Pia Teschner 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, setting the stage for the decider. Darien's Catherine Hatfield and Anna Barsanti defeated Kristin Butler and Xenia Bradley 7-5, 6-3.
"It's always tough coming up here against Staples, they are a good team," Gebauer said. "There are a lot of good teams that are very close; just a few points here or there. We have a lot to work on."
Both teams had plenty of youth making valuable contributions Monday. The Wreckers had four freshman and three sophomores in the lineup while Darien had three freshman and two sophomores.
"We had five new starters in the lineup today out of 10," Fabian said. `I had absolutely no idea what to expect and I'm just thrilled there's a real bright future for Staples at girls tennis."
Darien (2-1) will face fellow FCIAC hopefuls Greenwich (Monday) and Ludlowe (Wednesday) in two big matches next week. Staples gets its shot at Ludlowe next Thursday.
STAPLES 4, DARIEN 3
Singles: Kateri Martin (D) def. Vanessa Mauricio 6-0, 6-0; Alex Collins (S) def. Mia Dursht 6-3, 6-3; Emilia Callery (D) def. Megan Brown 6-1, 6-4; Olivia Foster (S) def. Emily Neuner 6-2, 6-0. Doubles: Avery Wallace/Tess Rubin (S) def. Erika Gill/Pia Teschner 5-7, 6-4, 6-2; Catherine Hatfield/Anna Barsanti (D) def. Kristen Butler/Xenia Bradley 7-5, 6-3; Hannah Bjorkman/Gabriela Vega (S) def. Allegra Molkenthin/Daphne Gray 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Records: Darien 1-1; Staples 3-0.