Greenwich High

Cardinals boys tennis team advances to FCIAC finals with win over rival Staples

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich’s Bruce Lunder hits a backhand during the FCIAC semifinals against Staples at GHS.

Greenwich and Staples renewed their long-standing postseason rivalry and this time, it was the Cardinals boys tennis team that earned bragging rights, while advancing in tournament play.

The top-seeded Cardinals, who lost to the Wreckers in the 2022 CIAC Class LL Tournament final, earned a spot in the championship match of the FCIAC Tournament, posting an impressive 4-0 win over fifth-seeded Staples in Wednesday’s semifinal-round.

Up next for 17-0 Greenwich is a match against second-seeded rival Darien, which moved on to the final with a 4-3 semifinal victory against third-seeded Wilton. The title match of the FCIAC Tournament is scheduled to take place on Tuesday at Wilton High School with a starting time of 2:30 p.m.

Greenwich senior Dylan Atkinson was victorious at No. 1 singles again for the Cardinals in the FCIAC quarterfinals.

In Wednesday’s semifinal-round showdown between the Cardinals and Wreckers, four matches were completed, with GHS getting victories from first, third and fourth singles and third doubles. Playing each other in postseason tournaments is nothing new to the Cardinals and Wreckers.

Over a span of three decades, the conference rivals have met 12 times in the championship match of the FCIAC Tournament and have placed either first or second in the CIAC Class LL state tournament on 10 occasions. Like Wednesday’s match, they’ve also competed against each other a number of other times in the quarterfinals or semifinals of tournaments.

Greenwich senior captain Dylan Atkinson was finished with his semifinal-round match first against Staples. Atkinson won his match at first singles, 6-0, 6-0, using his strong serve and impressive groundstrokes to his advantage.

Greenwich’s Volodymyr Dombrovskyi returns a shot during the No. 2 singles match against Staples in the FCIAC quarterfinals.

“I thought I played today’s match well,” said Atkinson, who has thrived at the No. 1 spot throughout the season. “I tried to get the match done as quick as possible and sort of put the match away quick. I executed my aggressive game plan really well today and I was happy to be done quick and support my teammates.”

At third singles, senior David Karetsky of Greenwich was a 6-0, 6-1 winner over Staples’ Patrick Tesoriero. Sophomore Manuel Galli Specos gave the Cards another lift at fourth singles, winning his match against Shreyas Gorre, 6-2, 6-4.

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich’s Harrison Wolfe gets ready to hit a forehand during the FCIAC quarterfinals vs. Staples.

In doubles action, junior Bruce Lunder and sophomore Alex Salib were a winning combination once again for GHS, topping Jared Even and Henry Matar, 6-0, 6-2. Greenwich, coached by Ray Marschall, advanced to the semifinals by beating eighth-seeded Trumbull in the quarterfinals, 4-0. Staples moved on to Wednesday’s semifinals by coming back from a 3-0 deficit to edge Fairfield Warde, 4-3.

In matches that were completed in Wednesday’s semifinals, since Greenwich clinched the match with four victories, Cardinals freshman Volodymyr Dombrovskyi won the first set against Staples’ Lucas Ceballos-Cala, 6-1 and was ahead, 4-3, in the second set, at No. 2 singles. At No. 1 doubles, Alex Guadarrama and Mattie Guardarrama took the first set against Cardinals seniors Nick O’Brien and Cai Jain, 6-4 and were up, 5-4, in the second, when play was halted.

The No. 2 doubles match had Greenwich junior Harrison Wolfe and sophomore Rohan Mittal ahead of Brett Lampert and Clint Graham, 7-5, 5-1.

“The atmosphere on our team has been unbelievable,” Atkinson noted. “This has been the most enjoyable, the most successful season so far.”

Dylan Atkinson of Greenwich in action at No. 1 singles during the FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals against rival Staples.

The regular season match between Greenwich and its opponent in Tuesday’s FCIAC Tournament finals, Darien, saw the Cards post a 4-3 victory.

“Darien is a tough one so, we’ll see how it goes then,” Atkinson said. “We have one freshman, a few sophomores, a few juniors, so all of them are stepping up to the occasion.”

Rohan Mittal gets set at the net for Greenwich during the No. 2 doubles matchup in the FCIAC quarterfinals vs. Staples.

“We haven’t lost a single doubles match all year, which is probably the first time in FCIAC history that’s been done,” Atkinson continued. “These guys have been putting in the work all offseason, so it’s super impressive.”

Greenwich’s Alex Salib returns a shot at No. 3 doubles in the FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals versus Staples.

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