For the second-consecutive year, Wilton’s girls tennis team is moving on in the state tournament thanks to a forfeit win.
Despite beating Wilton 6-1 in the opening round Tuesday, unbeaten FCIAC Champion and defending Class L champion Darien was removed from the tournament after confirming the use of an ineligible player to the CIAC.
The CIAC announced the decision Wednesday afternoon, not long after the Blue Wave’s first-round victory over league rival Wilton at Chesea Piers in Stamford.
According to a report in the Stamford Advocate, the CIAC told Darien athletic director Chris Manfredonia it “heard” that one of Darien’s players had exceeded the number of USTA events allowed during the season and asked him to investigate.
Manfredonia confirmed the girl in question had played in a fifth USTA match, which deemed Darien’s first-round win a forfeit. ““One of our girls played in what she thought was a friendly match but turned out to be a USTA match and that was her fifth USTA match, putting her one over the limit,” he told reporter Scott Ericson.
Darien was 19-0 heading into the match. Wilton (13-7 and the No. 16 seed) advanced to play No. 9 Greenwich in the quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon.
Interestingly enough, this is the second-consecutive year that Wilton’s been awarded a forfeit victory in the state tournament. Last year, Amity was bounced from the tournament when Wilton protested an illegal lineup change. It was the first forfeit in the 40-year career of Amity coach Hal Friedman, who said believed he was within the rules, but felt compelled to forfeit.
Darien coach and International Tennis Hall of Famer Gigi Fernandez called it the “worst day in the history of my tennis career,” according to The Advocate.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure these nonsensical rules are eliminated from the rule book. Let the kids play!” she reportedly wrote.
Brush up on that rule book, Greenwich.