Depth is one of the Greenwich High School boys tennis team’s biggest strengths and it was, indeed, on full display during Wednesday’s FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals against New Canaan.
Juggling their lineup to get several seniors action on their Senior Day, the top-seeded Cardinals produced another impressive performance, posting a decisive 5-2 triumph against eighth-seeded New Canaan in the FCIAC quarterfinals.
Up next for Greenwich (15-1) is an FCIAC semifinal showdown against fourth-seeded Westhill (14-2), the only team to defeat the Cardinals so far this season (5-2 on May 5). The host Cardinals and Vikings will meet in the conference tournament semifinals on Friday at 4 p.m.
“I’m very happy with our performance, but I’ve been very happy the way they performed all year,” GHS coach Ray Marschall said. “We rotated a couple of players and our seniors played well.”
Westhill advanced to the FCIAC semifinals by beating fifth-seeded Wilton, 5-2, in the quarterfinals. Third-seeded Staples and second-seeded Darien are playing in Friday’s other semifinal.
At first singles, Greenwich junior Dylan Atkinson added another impressive win to his record, cruising past New Canaan’s Nicholas Brillo, 6-0, 6-0.
“I served really well, I held in every game, I broke every game too,” Atkinson said. “I came to the net a lot and executed my strategy really well.”
Second singles saw Cardinal senior Yuta Kawamura register a straight set victory against New Canaan sophomore William Street, 6-1, 6-4. The Rams’ win in singles competition came from sophomore Nathan Smock, who edged GHS freshman Alex Salib in three sets, 1-6, 6-4, 10-8.
Senior Francisco Fontana got the start at No. 4 singles for the Cards on Senior Day and he came back to beat Rams sophomore Alexander Powers1-6, 7-5, 10-6.
“It was a lot of fun I was able to pull through at the end and I was really happy about that,” Fontana said of his victory.
Fontana appreciates the time he’s spent on the squad.
“We have so much depth and such a great group of guys,” he said. “It’s been amazing to play with them every day in practice. It’s been fun. I’ve been on the varsity team since my sophomore year and it’s been nice to see everyone develop and the team develop as well.”
Atkinson spoke of how deep the team is.
“We’ve got so much depth this year that anyone can play and we can win a lot of our matches with anyone in our lineup,” Atkinson said. “It was Senior Day, so we got seniors in the lineup and they played well.”
In doubles action, juniors Nick O’Brien and David Karetsky formed a different tandem for the Cardinals and were victorious, recording a 7-6 (5), 6-0 win against Milan Afshar/Kevin Zuo.
“I think we felt pretty good,” O’Brien said. “Going into it with a different doubles partner was kind of different, but we were feeling it out in the first set and the second set we knew what we needed to do.”
“I prefer playing singles, but Nick is a good guy to have as a partner and I had fun,” said Karetsky, who is usually in the Cards’ singles lineup. “This shows that almost every kid on the team can play at almost every spot.”
Greenwich’s freshman duo of Ishan Ambastha and Rohan Mittal were 6-1, 6-0 winners at second doubles, while seniors Lucas Piccininno and Isaiah Sohn were edged in three sets in a hard-fought match against their New Canaan foes, who pulled out a 6-2, 0-6, 7-6 (6) decision.
Friday, the Cardinals will look to avenge their lone loss of the season when they face Westhill and move one step closer toward winning their first FCIAC Tournament title since 2013.
“We have some goals to reach and we’re locked in and we’re ready for anyone,” Atkinson said. “We want to use our depth to keep winning matches and we want to keep our focus every match and hopefully, everyone gets the job done.”