Rivalries were renewed Tuesday, as the Greenwich and Staples boys and girls tennis team faced each other, after a one-season hiatus.
The Wreckers, who didn’t meet the Cardinals in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emerged victorious in both matches, as the girls team posted a 7-0 win and the boys squad posted a 5-2 triumph. In the boys matchup, Staples won three of the four singles matches and two of the three doubles contests.
At first singles, Staples junior Tighe Brunetti registered a 6-2, 6-2 win against Greenwich senior Matthew Luzzi.
“Going into the match I was prepared, because I knew it would be a tough one, but if I played well, I knew I could pull it out,” Brunetti said. “I played him freshman year in the FCIACs in the semis, so I was familiar with his game. I played a really good first set and the second set I started off quick and took the match. My forehand was strong and I put a lot of pressure on him early, which was key.”
Brunetti carried the momentum the majority of the match.
“He played very well and I was trying to stay aggressive, but he was able to slow the momentum down a little bit and he was able to control a lot of the points,” Luzzi said. “As a team, we’ll have to regroup from this. There is a lot to learn from this match for sure.”
At second singles, Cardinals sophomore Dylan Atkinson was victorious against Wreckers junior Robbie Daus, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Converting a key break point enabled Atkinson to take the opening set.
“Dylan loves being part of a team and the team reacts positively when he puts in so much effort during his matches,” Greenwich coach Ray Marschall said.
Brandon Felcher gave the Wreckers a 6-0, 6-0 victory at third singles, while teammate Alex Miller took a 6-1, 6-0 decision against Greenwich’s Matthew Hunt at No. 4 singles. Brunetti said the Staples squad has a significant amount of experience, despite being sidelined last season like every team, due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“We have an older team, with six returning players,” Brunetti said. “Our team has four juniors that all made it as freshman and two seniors that are captains, who have been on the team since freshman year, so that helps.”
In doubles action, senior Bradley Sheppard and junior Luke Brodsky beat Cardinals seniors Colin Speaker and Christian Fikre, 6-2, 6-2.
“It was our second match in two days, so it was tough,” Marschall said. “First doubles, we had a couple of points that could have gone either way in a couple of games.”
In the No. 2 doubles match, sophomores Cai Jain and Nick O’Brien of the Cardinals topped Jake Motyl/Josh Suggs, 5-7, 6-4, 10-4.
“They played like a team that had played together for two years,” Marschall said. “I’m happy they came from behind to win a tiebreaker. Our super sophomores came alive with poaching and volleys at the net.”
At third doubles, Cardinals seniors Connor Sobieri/Sebastian Yamasoto were defeated by senior Lucas Haymes and junior Matthew Chiang, 6-1, 6-2.
“Staples has a deep team, with six guys with a lot of skill and experience,” Marschall said. “I’m glad our guys got a taste of the Greenwich/Staples rivalry.”
GREENWICH HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS TENNIS
The Cardinals dropped a 7-0 decision to a strong Staples squad on Tuesday in an early-season FCIAC matchup.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” Greenwich coach Julie Shropshire said. “Everyone played really well and I am so happy about how much these girls are growing as players. The last two days have been exactly what this team needed to take their game to the next level.”
Greenwich, which lost to Fairfield Ludlowe on Monday, is 1-2 so far this season. At first singles on Tuesday, Alexandra Frances of Staples defeated Greenwich sophomore Ivanna Diez de Bonilla, 5-7, 7-5 and 10-8 in the third set tiebreaker.
“The match was a catalyst that Ivanna needed to take her game to the next level,” Shropshire said. “She stayed very focused, positive and played very smart. She won the first set 7-5, but just came up short in the second 5-7. Allie Francis finished very strong, just edging Ivanna for the win.”
Staples’ Jordana Latzman, a junior, was a 6-2, 6-2 winner against Greenwich freshman Kyra Dybas.
“It was another good match where the score didn’t reflect the points,” Shropshire said. “Ultimately, it was the experience of a junior that enabled Jordana to stay in the point just a little bit longer. Kyra is doing great as a freshman and her game is developing nicely.”
In the No. 3 singles match, sophomore Kareena Birns posted a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Greenwich junior Courteney Sheets. At No. 4, Audrey Kercher of the Wreckers, a sophomore, was victorious against Malena Schraa, a freshman, 6-7, 6-3, 11-9 (tiebreaker).
“The two were going back and forth all of the first set, but Malena was able to stay focused and win the tie breaker to win the first set,” Shropshire said. “Her opponent was able to regroup for the second set and take a quick lead at 3-0 and Malena was able to recover as well and came back to 3-5, but just ran out of time as Audrey took the second set.”
At first doubles, Greenwich senior Abby Shropshire and sophomore Julia Tamis were defeated by 7-5, 6-4.
“First doubles was determined to stay positive,” coach Shropshire said. “The two sets went back and forth with Julia and Abby being up for a good chunk of the match. The two were happy with how they played, setting each other up well, as well as trying different formations. At the end Staples played just a bit better.”
In the No. 2 doubles matchup, senior Natalie Carozza and sophomore Elle Tesoriero of the Wreckers notched a 6-4, 6-0 triumph against senior Kira Popa and freshman Emily Weinstein.
“Emily and Kira had a strong start and a close to the first set,” coach Shropshire said. “Their opponents used the momentum of winning the first set to kick up their game into another gear and secure an easier win in the second set.”
The No. 3 doubles match saw Staples sophomore Caroline Caggiano and junior Sofia Palumbo post a 7-5, 6-4 victory against sophomores Mei McGuinnes and Valentina Rivano.
“Third doubles went very similar, if not identical to first doubles with both teams fighting for every point,” Shropshire said. “Staples played the key points very well, putting a lot of pressure on Mei and Valentina.”
Up next for Greenwich is a home match against Norwalk on Thursday at 4 p.m.
GREENWICH HIGH SOFTBALL
Host Stamford used a 14-hit attack to down Greenwich, 14-1, in an FCIAC game held on Tuesday.
Stamford scored two runs in the second inning, five runs in fourth inning and added three runs in the fifth inning. The victors scored three times in the sixth inning to close out the game. The Cardinals managed only one hit off Stamford pitcher Kim Saunders. Saunders struck out 15 batters to earn the win on the mound.
Senior catcher Olivia McClammy provided Greenwich’s hit, delivering a solo home run in the fourth inning. The Cardinals host Darien on Friday at 4 p.m.