Staples girls tennis flying high at 10-1
WESTPORT — As a result of a presence of strong singles players in Fairfield County, the Staples girls tennis team isn’t going to win too many matches at No. 1 singles this season.
The Wreckers aren’t going to lose many games as a team, though, and haven’t so far this spring.
Utilizing depth and teamwork behind a loaded roster, Staples is off to another excellent start this season. At 10-1 the Wreckers are on track to have one of their best years in school history and equal last year’s 16-1 regular season mark.
Everyone on the roster has already contributed to the breakout start, but the depth at the bottom of the lineup is where the Wreckers shine. No. 3 and No. 4 singles players Olivia Foster and Lindy Sinclair — a transfer from Rhode Island — have yet to drop a match this season.
“They’ve been real standouts,” Fabian said. “They’re both baseliners who out-grind the other girls and try to beat them with consistency. They’ve impressed me with how they’ve developed over the last year.”
The doubles teams dropped two of three in the Darien match, but have been virtually flawless the rest of the way. Megan Brown teams with Kristin Butler while Wood plays with Olivia Daytz. Hannah Bjorkman and Gabriela Vega played at the No. 2 spot against Darien.
“We have a really deep lineup, all of the players are good that’s been helping us for the positions,” Brown said. “There tends to be one girl from every school who is really good, but our doubles teams are strong.”
The lone blemish thus far came Monday as Staples fell 4-3 to Darien, the favorite to win the FCIAC title. The Blue Wave won the top two singles matches, but shined in doubles.
“We realized they are beatable, we can beat them in the playoffs,” Wood said. “We know we really have to focus on doubles going forward.”
The depth will likely lead to more wins to close the regular season, but what’s left on the checklist is postseason hardware. The team, which went 21-3 overall in 2015, hasn’t won an FCIAC title since 2002 or a state crown since 2003.
“We have different goals after last year, we feel like we peaked in the regular season last year,” Fabian said. “This year our goal is to peak in the postseason. We’re hoping we can play our best tennis at the end of the year.”
Staples is 41-4 in the regular season dating back to the start of the 2014 season.
“I’ve been pleased with the girls’ effort, they understand the goals, and have bought into the system that me and (assistant) Kim Harizman are running,” Fabian said. “They really believe in everything we’re doing and they have the same goals we have; they’ve been working hard.”
The Blue Wave will likely be the top threat to both titles, making it a two-horse race between the talented schools. They met in the Class L final last season with the Blue Wave’s doubles teams sending them to the title.
The 10 players — including Tess Rubin and Vanessa Mauricio at the top of the lineup — that will take the court in the postseason won’t differ much in skill level, but will collectively give the Wreckers a chance to end their title drought.
“On bond has been a lot stronger, it’s been growing season by season,” Brown said. “When we lose players we get really good new plyaers who fit into the team great. No one gets down on themselves.”