Losses have been few and extremely far between for the Staples girls tennis team, especially on its home court.
A defeat against Fairfield Ludlowe on April 23, 2015 marked the last time the Wreckers lost a home match. Since then, Staples has won 52 consecutive home matches, its latest coming when it topped FCIAC foe Ludlowe last week, 5-2.
Staples went into its match against rival Weston Wednesday with a 7-0 record at home and an overall mark of 14-0.
“We love playing at home,” Wreckers coach Paco Fabian said. “I can still remember the last time we lost at home. That year, we lost to Ludlowe and Darien at home and after that, we felt that we had to bear down at home. We knew it was really important to us to be successful on our home court.”
Included in the Wreckers’ victories at home were wins against rivals Darien, Greenwich and Wilton.
With one FCIAC match remaining and a 14-0 conference record, Staples has clinched the No. 1 seed in the eight-team FCIAC Tournament, which begins on Tuesday. Darien is 13-1 (with a loss to Staples), followed by Wilton (11-2), New Canaan (11-3), Westhill (10-4), Greenwich (10-4) and Ludlowe (10-4).
Staples continued its perfect season Tuesday with a 7-0 win over New Canaan.
“What really helps us in our matches at home and in all our matches, is our depth,” Fabian said. “We have done well over the years at three and four singles and three doubles. It’s really something how many tennis players the town of Westport produces. We have rarely lost at third singles and third doubles over the years.”
Fabian and the squad only recently became aware of the impressive home winning streak. A recent recipient of a CIAC Tennis Coach of the Year Award for 2018, Fabian was asked to list any noteworthy items about the team to the state.
“I started going through our records over the years and all of a sudden I noticed it,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised.”
The defending FCIAC champion Wreckers are led by junior Alyssa DiMaio at the No. 1 singles spot. DiMaio helped key the team to FCIAC and Class L championships in 2018, then advanced to the title match of the State Open Tournament. She lost to Gabrielle Dellocono of Southington in the singles final.
DiMaio, one of the team’s captains, has lost just one match this spring at the top singles position.
“She has been one of the top singles players in the state the past couple of years and is a great leader for our group,” Fabian said. “Alyssa had a huge win against Darien in the state tournament last year and is a very tough player from the baseline.”
Freshman Amelia Galin has successfully filled the role at second singles and freshman Jordana Latzman has boosted the squad from the No. 3 position. Galin and Latzman have won all but one of their matches.
“It’s really nice to have two freshman move into the lineup, where they are going to help us for a long time and keep the success of Staples going,” Fabian said.
Junior Alisyn Kercher has also sparked the squad at fourth singles. At first doubles, junior Olivia Gordy and senior tri-captain Lily Smith have displayed consistency and chemistry.
“They are a top-10 doubles team in the state,” Fabian said. “They are really holding down the fort at first doubles.”
Like Gordy and Smith, sophomores Natalie Carozza and Dylan Dasbach won in straight sets against New Canaan at the No. 2 spot, while senior tri-captain Luiza Cocito and senior Kai Dasbach also won in two sets.
“One of the good things about our team is our wins can come from anywhere,” Fabian said. “This is such a well-rounded group of players.”
Three players graduated from last season’s championship squad, including the State Open championship doubles team of Hannah Bjorkman and Kristin Butler.
“We lost five of 10 starters from last year, so it’s been a pleasant surprise of how well we have done,” said Fabian, whose squad will begin play in the FCIAC Tournament on Tuesday. “The (FCIAC) tournament is going to be tough, some of the top teams in the state are in it. At states, no matter how our draw turns out, we have a long road.”
ANOTHER FAA TITLE FOR BRUNSWICK
Brunswick School captured the FAA regular season title for the fourth straight season with a 7-0 win over visiting Masters School on Tuesday. The Bruins (11-2, 6-0 FAA) are 24-0 against their FAA foes the past four seasons.
Against Masters, the Bruins won each match in straight sets. Ryan Glanville won at first singles, 6-1, 6-1, while Aidan Reilly and Alex Penn were 6-0, 6-0 winners, at second and fourth singles, respectively. Lorenzo Gunningham was a 6-0, 6-1 winner at third singles.
Brunswick’s doubles teams were just as impressive, with Colin Wahl/Joe Delaney leading the way at the top spot, posting a 6-1, 6-0 win. One of Brunswick’s closest calls of the season came in their match against FAA rival Rye Country Day School on Monday. The Bruins pulled out the match, 4-3, with Reilly and Gunningham propelling the team with singles victories.
Stamford’s No. 1 doubles team of twin sisters Devon and Taylor Yaghmaie have lost one regular season match since they joined forces as freshmen in 2017, while compiling more than 40 victories.
The juniors, who won the State Open doubles championship in 2017, then were edged in three sets by Staples’ Hannah Bjorkman/Kristin Butle in the 2018 Open final, registered a 6-0, 6-0 win against St. Joseph at No. 1 doubles, as they helped key the team’s 4-3 victory. In Stamford’s 6-1 loss to Westhill, they came up with the squad’s win, taking a 6-0, 6-0 decision at the top doubles spot.