NEW CANAAN — Tradition and history are important to the Staples girls tennis program.
And while the Wreckers had been in five straight FCIAC finals and five consecutive Class L finals, there was one standard that had eluded them.
The perfect season.
Well, Staples High scratched that accomplishment off its list Friday. The No. 1-seeded Wreckers placed a beautiful blue and white ribbon around their 24-0 season as they grinded out a 5-2 triumph over No. 6 seed Wilton in the Class L state championship final.
“I told the girls all year long that to go undefeated, win the FCIAC championship and the Class L title, that is the ultimate trifecta,” Staples coach Paco Fabian said. “Wilton gave us a fantastic fight today. There was great tennis played on every court.”
Indeed. The rivals (Staples had also beat Wilton in this year’s FCIAC championship final) split the four singles matches on the nearly windless New Canaan courts.
No. 1 Isabella Koziol and No. 2 Emma Caldwell won for Wilton. No. 3 Jordana Latzman and No. 4 Alisyn Kercher answered for Staples.
That left it up to the three doubles matches.
At No. 1 doubles, senior Lily Smith and junior Olivia Gordy won 7-5 in the third set for Staples.
At No. 2 doubles, Staples sophomores Dylan Dasbach and Natalie Carozza earned a 7-5, 7-5 victory to clinch the crown at 4-2.
At No. 3 doubles, senior Luiza Cocito and junior Allison Katz rallied for a three-set win and 5-2 final. Staples earned its third Class L crown (2016, ’18, ’19) in five years.
“It’s been a miraculous season. No Staples girls tennis team has ever had a perfect season,” Staples senior Smith said. “It’s so heartwarming. Wilton has been a tough adversary all year. But we were ready to win today.”
Staples had lost five of its 10 starters from 2018, when it won FCIAC and Class L titles but lost once in the regular season.
But this newly forged squad answered every challenge.
“It takes time for every team to build its own chemistry and character,” Smith said. “The returnees could see that the newcomers were so young but so talented. The key was everybody was willing to be part of the team. We all had a level of unselfishness. We were passionate on the court. But we did it all for each other.”
As for Wilton, the Warriors wrapped up a 20-4 campaign that included three losses to Staples.
Wilton’s first-year coach Rod D’Jaly Thoby has much to look forward to. The Warriors graduate six seniors but return all four singles players.
Wilton won Class L titles in 1994 and ’93. It had not been to a state final since winning Class M in 2013 and ’14.
“We’re making more history in Class L. We went to our first FCIAC final in 26 years (won 1991-93 titles). We will continue the momentum from this season,” D’Jaly Thoby said. “I’m so proud of how hard the girls fought today. But Staples is a great team. We leave this court with a smile and we know we have more talent coming from our junior varsity squad.”