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Staples girls tennis upsets New Canaan

Updated 11:30 pm, Thursday, April 4, 2013
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Staples High junior Melissa Beretta tosses around adjectives like "spectacular" to describe her previous matches against New Canaan on the tennis court.

Her recollections of her team's past results against the Rams, however, bring out a different set of emotions.

"The last two years we have been just thrown around by this team," Beretta said, referring to a pair of 1-6 defeats.

On Thursday afternoon, Staples managed to change its fortunes against New Canaan by upsetting the Rams 4-3 at home.

The Wreckers (2-0) won in straight sets in all four singles matches. At the No. 1 spot, Beretta defeated Jensen Lee 6-0, 6-1.

"I went out swinging and telling myself that I was just going to keep swinging hard and not let up," Beretta said. "I was very excited. Just like the fact that everybody played so well, I am on cloud nine right now."

"Melissa's really important to this team," Staples coach Paco Fabian said. "She's been playing so well. I'm just really impressed with her. She's a leader on and off the court."

At No. 2 singles, sophomore Gabi Titlebaum topped New Canaan's Kate Howard 6-0, 6-4. Titlebaum said she didn't know what to expect because she had never played against Howard, but she left pleasantly surprised.

"I'm really excited about it," Titlebaum said. "We all really wanted this win to prove ourselves and to start a new legacy for Staples girls tennis. It's a good start."

Staples freshman Julia Bartimer topped Emily Brand at No. 3 singles 6-0, 6-3. Junior Kelsey Shockey gave the Wreckers a clean sweep in the singles matches when she beat Jackie Millisits 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 4 spot.

"(Staples) deserved it. They played great," New Canaan coach Erin Gildea said. "Their singles players were outstanding. ... They were the better team."

New Canaan, the L state champions and FCIAC runner-up last season, graduated both its No. 1 singles player, Courtney Gallagher, and half of its No. 1 doubles team, Phoebe Wilks.

"It's only two players, but it's two huge players," Gildea said.

The Rams had success at doubles, winning all three matches, including two by straight sets. At No. 1 doubles, Kristin Laub and Sara Greene topped Alex Collins and Avery Wallace 6-3, 6-1. At No. 2 doubles, the Rams' Amanda Merjian and Sarah Lovejoy defeated Alexis Teixeira and Leah Bradley 6-0, 6-1.

"One of the strengths of our team is our depth," Gildea said. "The girls playing doubles are very similar to the girls playing singles. It's nice to see them doing well."

With Staples having clinched the overall victory -- leading 4-2 with one match to play -- New Canaan's Caroline Gordon and Guilianna Savini closed out the match by edging Callie Bartimer and Rachel Lieberman 4-6, 6-2, 10-7.

Fabian, in his first year at the helm, is hopeful that Staples will continue to have success on the court.

"It's early in the year. Even though we won today, we still have a lot of work to do," he said.

dbonjour@scni.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour

STAPLES 4, NEW CANAAN 3 (at Staples)

Singles: Melissa Beretta (S) def. Jensen Lee 6-0, 6-1; Gabi Titlebaum (S) def. Kate Howard 6-0, 6-4; Julia Bartimer (S) def. Emily Brand 6-0, 6-3; Kelsey Shockey (S) 6-3, 6-2 def. Jackie Millisits; Doubles: Kristin Laub/Sara Greene (NC) def. Alex Collins/Avery Wallace 6-3, 6-1; Amanda Merjian/Sarah Lovejoy (NC) def. Alexis Teixeira/Leah Bradley 6-0, 6-1; Caroline Gordon/Guilianna Savini (NC) def. Callie Bartimer/Rachel Lieberman 4-6, 6-2, 10-7.

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