Greenwich High

Greenwich High boys tennis team defeated by Staples in the championship match of the CIAC Class LL Tournament

Photo by Julie Atkinson: Greenwich’s boys tennis team gathers around the trophy with coach Ray Marschall after placing second in the CIAC Class LL Tournament. The Cardinals played Staples in the championship match.

Greenwich High School’s boys tennis team has indeed, produced a season to remember.

This spring has seen the Cardinals re-establish themselves as a premier team in the FCIAC and one of the best squads in the state. The Cardinals finished the regular season with a record of 14-1, a mark which earned them the No. 1 seed in the FCIAC Tournament.

They also captured the FCIAC West Division title by registering such an impressive record. Key victories during the regular season included wins against rivals Staples, Darien, Wilton, New Canaan and Ridgefield.

In the FCIAC Tournament, Greenwich reached the semifinal round, where it lost to Westhill, the only team that dealt the Cards a defeat during the regular season. Greenwich avenged the losses by edging Westhill, 4-3, in a semifinal showdown in the CIAC Class LL Tournament this past week.

After posting wins against Southington, Hall and Westhill in the Class LL Tournament, second-seeded Greenwich advanced to the tournament’s championship match, where they faced five-time defending state titlist Staples.

Winning two singles and doubles matches, third-seeded Staples continued their title reign, posting a 4-1 victory over Greenwich in the Class LL final held at Wesleyan University in Middletown on Saturday.

“I’m delighted with how well they have played this season and in the finals,” said Greenwich coach Ray Marschall, who was selected as the 2022 FCIAC Coach of the Year. “Staples is a good team and they deserved to win. They have some really good players. I am so proud of our team for getting to the finals, which was quite an achievement. Our team has four freshmen and four other players who did not have varsity experience going into the season, so for us to have this type of season is very impressive.”

In Saturday’s Class LL final, Staples received singles victories from Robbie Daus and Noah Wolff. Daus, a senior, registered a 6-1, 6-1 win against Greenwich senior Yuta Kawamura at No. 2 singles. Kawamura was a consistent force at second singles for the Cardinals, provided clutch play and leadership throughout the season.

“Yura played well,” Marschall said. “Robbie is an outstanding player. He’s been one of the best players in the state for several seasons.”

At third singles, Wreckers freshman Noah Wolff defeated GHS sophomore Harrison Wolfe, 6-0, 6-0. In the No. 1 singles match, Cardinals junior Dylan Atkinson and Staples senior Tighe Brunetti were involved in a competitive match. Atkinson won the first set, 7-5, and the second set was tied at 3-3 when the Wreckers won their fourth match and clinched the championship match. The No. 1 singles match therefore, was not completed.

“Atkinson was off to a good start,” Marschall said. “The kid is a warrior. He banged up his toe pretty badly in a tournament and it has been bothering him for a-week-and-a-half. It really bothered him against Westhill in the semifinals. Today, he seemed to be moving pretty well. He wound up taking the first set and he certainly looked really good.”

The Cards’ victory came from junior David Karetsky at fourth singles. It was Karetsky that won the deciding match against Westhill in the Class LL semifinals. Karetsky topped Wreckers senior Matthew Chiang, 6-0, 6-3 at fourth singles.

“Karetsky has gotten better and better the last couple of weeks,” Marschall said. “He came out and was hitting crisp shots and was lobbing at the right times. His serves were kicking in throughout the match. He played a very impressive match.”

At No. 1 doubles, Staples received a 6-2, 6-2 win from senior Luke Brodsky and junior Alex Guadarrama. They were victorious against Greenwich’s top tandem of juniors Cai Jain and Nick O’Brien.

“Nick and Cai played solidly has they have been all year,” Marschall said. “All four players played really well. Staples just wound up finding some holes in the middle.”

Freshman Brett Lampert and Lucas Ceballos teamed up for a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 win over Greenwich freshmen Ishan Ambastha and Rohan Mittal. Lampert and Ceballos’ victory in the all-freshman matchup clinched Staples’ sixth straight CIAC Class LL state title.

“We have a couple of freshmen at second doubles who played some real nice points,” Marschall said. “It went back and forth and It was a tough, competitive match. That was their fourth win, so the Staples team ran out on the court to celebrate and I thought Rohan and Ishan handled it real well.”

The No. 3 doubles match was not completed. Greenwich sophomore Tristan Sowter and freshman Manuel Galli Specos won the first set against Staples’ Hayden Frey and Jared Even, 7-6 (5) and the Wreckers held a 3-2 edge in the second set.

“Those two guys do not break, they handle the pressure involved in each match so well,” Marschall said of his No. 3 doubles team. “Overall, I’m ecstatic with how well the team has played. A record of 18-3, that’s a great season.”

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