Lady Wreckers beat Warde 4-3
The Staples girls tennis team pulled it together on Monday in a 4-3 home victory over Fairfield Warde. Staples raised its record to 6-0 as it won two close matches. Warde dropped to 2-2.
"It was a little too close for comfort but it's a credit to Warde because they played well," Lady Wreckers Coach Casey DeVita said. "It's a reminder of how tough are league and Warde reminded us that we can't take any team for granted."
"I tried to focus on my strengths and what I could do to win the point," Reiner said. "I was patient and because of my strategy, it worked."
After playing at first doubles last year, Reiner has been steady at first singles and is 6-0 to start the season.
"I am happy to be where I am," Reiner said.
Warde controlled play at second and third singles behind juniors Haley Wolf and Marysa Walsh. Wolf turned back sophomore Leigh Rubin at second singles, 6-1, 6-1 and Walsh had a command performance in a 6-2, 6-1 victory over junior captain Farrel Levenson at third singles.
Although the match at first doubles was a two-setter, it was very close and could have gone either way. In the end, Staples senior captain Molly Laux and junior Hannah Bjornson defeated Lady Mustang senior captain Tara Babushkin and classmate Haley Smola, 7-5, 6-4.
"I was very happy because first doubles pulled out the first set the way they did," DeVita said. "The match could have been dicey if they didn't pull out the first set."
The southpaw Laux was steady with a few key gets and hit many passing shots down the middle for winners. Laux and Bjornson both had reliable serves and the captain set up Bjornson's overhead forehand slams for winners.
"We had to be positive and it helped us pull through," Laux said. "We used our doubles ability and strategy to our advantage."
Bjornson said, "We have good communication and I'm glad to have Molly. We used our strategy wisely."
Fourth singles was the longest match of the day and it turned out to be the deciding one as well. Lady Wrecker junior Molly Rudinger needed 80 minutes to win the first set over sophomore Caroline Gallucci.
"I knew she was very consistent and I tried to get past her," Rudinger said. "I was able to win the last two games in the end and break her serve."
The second set was tied 1-1 before Rudinger took the next four points to go up 5-1. She hit a few winners off of long rallies and forced Gallucci into errors. Gallucci hit a winner off the eighth return of a point, which led to her taking a game to make it 5-2, but Rudginger held steady and clinched the match, 6-4, 6-2, in a two-hour, 45-minute match.
"I had the mentality of being more focused in the second set," Rudinger said. "I learned what I needed to change after the first set and I didn't want to play a third set."
At third doubles, Staples junior Kate McNee and sophomore Stevie Klein won the first three games of the first set. Lady Mustang seniors Lauren Wroblewski and Maggie Giambalvo rallied to win the next three games. Warde took a 5-4 lead before McNee and Klein came back and won the next three games to take the set.
Things changed in the second set as Giambalvo and Wroblewski won the first five games of the second set before taking it 6-1 and the first game of the third set. Staples took a 2-1 lead in the third set with Klein serving well and making a diving play in which she hit a winner off a long rally.
However, this highlight-film play wasn't enough as Giambalvo and Wroblewski picked up their play and hit some winners in taking the match, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.
The Lady Wreckers host Norwalk on Monday and Greenwich, the top team in the state, on Tuesday.
"We're excited to beat Warde today," Laux said. "We have a tough seven days when we come back from April vacation."