Excelling in both singles and doubles competition, the Greenwich High School girls tennis team passed its first test of the CIAC Class L Tournament on Saturday.
In top form for their opening-round match, the sixth-seeded Cardinals won three of the four singles matches and was victorious in all of the doubles matchups in their 6-1 triumph against No. 22 Westhill.
Greenwich, which advanced to the FCIAC tournament semifinals, where it lost to Staples, moved on to the quarterfinal round of the Class L tourney. The Cardinals will play either third-seeded Darien or Amity on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
At first singles on Saturday, GHS junior Martine Fierro registered a 6-2, 6-2 win over Westhill senior Maddie Kaba.
“Martine’s match was a great match,” Greenwich coach Betsy Underhill said. “They had long, well-fought points. I think Martine was happy she was able to close it out in two sets. It was tough match.”
Second singles saw Cardinals sophomore Melanie Leguizamon notch a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Vikings sophomore Sanjana Nayak.
“Once we got into it, we played a lot more rallying points,” Leguizamon said. “My backhand was pretty consistent and my forehand, when it worked, I was able to get some good winners with it.”
Sophomore Tamar Bellete of Westhill defeated Greenwich senior Tess Lamhaouar at third singles, 6-2, 6-1. It was a marathon-like day for the Vikings, who beat Southington in Saturday’s Class L Tournament qualifier at Greenwich High, prior to playing the Cardinals. Westhill’s match against Southington began at 10 a.m., then after a brief break, they faced the Cardinals.
Junior Christina Gianesello was a 7-6 (1), 6-3 winner against Westhill’s Jackie Kaba at fourth singles. Gianesello has shown a knack for winning long, competitive matches this season.
“We were both tired from the heat, so it was hard to stay consistent,” Gianesello said. “I was prepared for the heat though. In long matches like that, you have to stay on your feet no matter what and keep moving. I tried to angle my shots and tried not to overdo it. Hitting cross court and down the line and switching it up helped me.”
Said Underhill: “Christina played a mirror image of herself in that match and did really well to pull that match out.”
Greenwich’s doubles teams were on point, as they also each won in straight sets. Senior Hannah Crasto/Kendall Schrohe won their match at first doubles for Greenwich against Tricia Kober/Malina Lasicki, 6-2, 6-4.
At second doubles, senior Melanie Murphy and sophomore Amy Bickham of the Cardinals topped Caitlyn Tyrrell/Lexi Schultz, 6-0, 6-1.
“It was such a hot day and it was kind of a slow match, but Amy and I worked well together and we pulled everything out when it counted,” Murphy said. “We knew what we were coming into today, so we brought water and we were prepared for the heat.”
In the third doubles match, Greenwich’s Abby Shropshire/Hannah Viney were 6-1, 6-0 winners. Should they visit Darien in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, the Cardinals believe they are up to the challenge.
“We are so excited to be playing Darien in our next match,” Murphy said. “We won our doubles match against them the last time, but it was close, so we’re excited to see what this match will be.”