Doubles strength lifts Staples into Class L girls tennis final
GLASTONBURY — Many of the names and faces were the same as the Staples girls tennis team visited Glastonbury for a second straight Class L semifinal, but Thursday’s match had a championship atmosphere.
The two championship-caliber teams battled back and forth in a tense battle, with the Wreckers utilizing their depth at doubles to book their second straight finals appearance.
Staples handed Glastonbury its only loss of the season and advanced to the Class L final with a 4-3 win over the Tomahawks. The Wreckers won all three doubles matches, as they did a year ago in the matchup.
Staples (21-2) will face Greenwich indoors in Trumbull on Friday for the right to be champions in a dramatic twist after top-seeded Darien was disqualified from the tournament. Staples beat Greenwich during the regular season.
Staples will be looking to come out on top after being finalists in the FCIAC tournament this year and last, as well as last year’s Class L final.
“We’ve been to three championships in a row, and we haven’t won one yet,” Staples coach Paco Fabian said. “We have a lot to prove in the championship.”
Staples was down 3-2 with a pair of third sets in the remaining two doubles matches to play. All of a sudden, both Megan Brown and Kristin Butler at No. 1 doubles and Mackenzie Wood and Olivia Datyz at No. 3 doubles grabbed a whirlwind of momentum and brushed aside their opponents 6-1.
“It was very scary, we had to win both matches to win,” Fabian said. “Our doubles pulled through, they’ve been pulling through all year and hopefully tomorrow we’ll win the championship this time. Both teams were nervous before the third set, as was I.”
Brown and Butler won the first set 6-4 before dropping the second by the same score. After a long timeout to decompress, the duo bounced back in a big way.
“Having fun was the most important thing,” Brown said. “We’ve been working on a lot of technical things in practice but have fun was the key idea here. We got nervous because the match could have gone either way.”
“I don’t think it’s ever come down to our match,” Butler said. “It did feel like a championship match; we’re a lot more confident this year than last.”
The lone win at singles for Staples came at No. 3, where sophomore Olivia Foster pulled out another crucial win. She defeated Glastonbury’s Reilly Malz 7-5, 6-2.
“Olivia has been our rock all season,” Fabian said. “If we win at No. 3 singles, we usually win the match”