WILTON >> The Fairfield Ludlowe girls’ tennis team was able to avenge its only loss of the season in the best way possible.
Friday afternoon at Wilton, the Falcons defeated Darien 4-3 for the Class L state title. The Blue Wave was the only team to beat Ludlowe this season.
“That one loss helped really drive us, motivate us and push us right through both the FCIAC and State Tournament,” Ludlowe head coach John Reisert said.
Playing with extra motivation, the Falcons made sure to make Friday’s match count. Reisert said the mantra today for his team was, “Don’t just be excited about the moment, make the moment.”
The Falcons took to that saying from every set on the court to off. The Falcons collected wins in all four singles spots and fought to the end in the doubles.
“I thought every single girl contributed,” Reisert said. “Whether it was their play on the court, their motivation on the side of the court; and it really was just a special day against an amazing team.”
Darien threw everything it had at Ludlowe. The No. 1 singles play between Ludlowe’s Lindsey Evans and Darien’s Kateri Martin was an epic set that Evans won, 6-4, 6-4. Martin was the only player to defeat Evans this season.
“Lindsey’s match at No. 1 singles was outstanding,” Reisert said. “Certainly one of the toughest competitors she’s faced all season.”
Evans (20-1) will continue playing as she is set to compete in the State Open as the No. 3 seed.
“There was a lot more motivation,” Evans said of the match. “It was my mom’s birthday, so I wanted to win it for her, I wanted to win it for the seniors and I wanted to win it for the whole team.”
After Darien jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Ludlowe tied the score, and Evans’ victory brought gave them a 3-2 lead. With just two matches left, Ludlowe’s Daria Efimov clinched the title for the Falcons, as she defeated Pia Teschner (6-3, 2-6, 6-4).
“The last match I wanted to make it count,” Efimov said, who is a senior and co-captain. “Make it something I can remember and not have to cringe about.”
“She has been a part of closing out special matches,” Reisert said of Efimov said. “She had the winning match for our first ever FCIAC last year, and then to have that chance today, for a senior, is something special. She is a fiery competitor, focused on the court; I couldn’t be happier for her.”
The Falcons finished the year as the FCIAC champions, and this was the first state title since 2006, when the Falcons won the Class S crown.