The 2017 season saw the Greenwich High School girls tennis team lose to only two teams on its way to a 16-4 record.
Powerhouse squads Staples and Darien each beat Greenwich twice.
This spring, the Cardinals, who advanced to the FCIAC semifinals and the Class L semifinals, are out for more.
“We definitely want to live up to what we did last year and, hopefully, exceed that,” Cardinals senior co-captain Melanie Murphy said. “We have a lot of young talent on the team and some experienced players. Right now, we are still figuring everything out, but once we do, we are going to be a strong team.”
Said GHS coach Betsy Underhill: “From what I’ve seen, the team is meshing well. This is going to be a really nice, team-bonding year. Our goal is to get to the finals of states and FCIACs.”
Darien defeated Greenwich in the FCIAC semifinals and Staples eliminated the Cards in the Class L semis. The Cardinals beat Ludlowe and Southington in the first two rounds of the state tourney.
Murphy and senior Tess Lamhaour are the captains while junior Martine Fierro is competing for one of the top singles spots. Fierro turned in a successful season at second singles last spring.
“Our singles lineup is pretty strong and our doubles is looking really good,” Fierro said. “We also had some good people come on to our team. I was watching them play and they are really doing great.”
Greenwich doesn’t have the luxury of easing into the season, as it hosts Darien in its season opener on Monday.
“We have four new players, so we are young, but I’m happy with what I have seen so far during the preseason,” Underhill said.
WHO’S GONE?: Senior Maddie Arnold consistently won her matches at first singles for the Cards in 2017. Possessing an all-court game, she produced numerous clutch wins at the top spot.
SINGLES PLAYERS: Fierro, who played at No. 2 last season and competes on the junior circuit, is in her third season on the squad.
“The first two years I was adjusting to the team setting, since I had only played individual sports before,” Fierro said. “I feel really excited about this season and I think we can go really far.”
Melanie Leguizamon, a sophomore, flourished at third singles last spring and is also in competition for one of the top singles positions. Lamhaour should be tough to beat at the third singles position and junior Christina Gianesello seems primed to excel at the fourth singles spot.
Sophomore Yuri Inagawa provides singles depth.
DOUBLES TEAMS: Murphy is one of the team’s best and most experienced doubles players.
“I’ve played No. 1 doubles the past two years and we have a lot of different candidates going out for first doubles, hopefully, we’l be very strong at first doubles,” Murphy said.
Returning at second doubles are sophomore Kendall Schrohe and senior Hannah Crasto. Schrohe and Crasto were dominant at No. 2 last season, winning the majority of their matches in straight sets.
Sophomore Amy Bickham and junior Catherine Daye are also doubles players, along with junior Efia Howarth.
STRENGTHS: The Cardinals should have a formidable singles lineup and possess experience in doubles competition.
“We want our singles and doubles players to have a good presence in the individual tournament (State Open) at states,” Murphy said.
SHOWDOWNS: Darien (home) April 2, New Canaan (away) April 3, Staples (home) April 19; Ridgefield (away) April 17.