A 7-0 forfeit was awarded to the Wilton girls tennis team for a violation in Amity’s lineup from the Spartans 4-3 victory Tuesday in the Class L state tournament.
Amity girls tennis coach Harold Freedman said the forfeit was self-imposed following Wilton’s protest.
Freedman altered his lineup between Saturday’s qualifying-round win over Cheshire and Monday’s first-round win over Wilton. Wilton noticed the switch, alerted both CIAC and Amity and the forfeit became official Tuesday morning.
“The rules in the tournament packet have been added on to over the years. It’s never been streamlined and made clear,” Freedman said. “In this case, one rule seemed to indicate what I was doing was fine and another rule seemed to contradict that.”
Freedman moved Rachel Einbinder, part of the No. 1 doubles team, to No. 4 singles against Wilton in place of Julia Forbes, who moved to No. 2 doubles to team with Alex Petrucci. Jamie Hashem then moved from No. 2 doubles to No. 1 doubles and played with Rebecca Bullers.
The eighth-seeded Spartans won all four singles matches and lost all three doubles matches against ninth-seeded Wilton, which went onto face top-seeded Glastonbury in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.
“I played a lineup in the qualifying round that was different from the Wilton match to strengthen our lineup as the competition got more difficult,” Freedman said. “I changed the lineup for the first round which I thought was the first official round.”
Freedman, finishing his 40th season as head coach, said he used this particular lineup “four or five times” during the regular season. This is the first time he has ever had to forfeit a match.
“The bottom line is the rules are ambiguous,” Freedman said. “I thought I was acting within the rules. I decided it was in the best interest to self-forfeit. It was not something imposed upon me, but I felt that if they were questioning what I did (then he should forfeit). It’s an unfortunate situation and hopefully, the rules will be clarified to everyone involved from next year forward. A rule needs to state clearly what lineup a team needs to play or needs to follow once the tournament begins, whether it begins with the qualifying round or first round and how much flexibility exists.”
Bob Lehr, a CIAC executive staff member who handled the process for the CIAC that led to the forfeit, didn’t return a phone message seeking comment.