Greenwich entered the semifinal-round of the FCIAC Girls Tennis Tournament with a record of 17-0 and one win away from reaching the conference tournament’s final for the first time since 2014.
Yet victory No. 18 narrowly eluded the Cardinals when they faced FCIAC rival Darien in Thursday’s semifinals.
The two-time defending champion Blue Wave, seeded fifth, edged the top-seeded Cardinals, 4-3, in a highly competitive match to advance to the FCIAC Tournament final.
Fifth-seeded Darien plays second-seeded New Canaan in today’s 4 p.m. FCIAC Tournament final at Wilton High School.
Greenwich (17-1) defeated Darien, 5-2, during the regular season, but the Blue Wave earned three singles victories and a doubles win to pull out Thursday’s FCIAC semifinal-round matchup.
“The girls fought really hard today,” Greenwich coach Julie Shropshire said, following the semifinal match. “While this is not the outcome that we had hoped, I believe it will make us stronger for the future matches. We will take some time to recover, but our season is far from over and now we have an eye on a bigger prize.”
The bigger prize Shropshire mentioned is the CIAC Class L Tournament championship. The Cardinals will be one of the top-seeded squads in the state tourney due to the outstanding season they’re enjoying.
Thursday’s semifinals saw Darien receive singles victories from sophomore Lauren Zhang (No. 1), junior Sarah Donnelly (No. 2) and junior Emmeline Wang (No. 3).
Zhang posted a 6-0, 6-0 win against Greenwich senior Ivanna Diez de Bonilla at first singles, Donnelly defeated GHS freshman Shining Sun at No. 2, 6-1, 6-1 and Wang was a 6-3, 6-1 winner against Cardinals junior Lilly Foley at No. 3.
Greenwich’s singles win came from Malena Schraa. A junior, Schraa, won in straight sets against freshman Annabelle Hirscht, 6-1, 6-0 at the No. 4 spot.
“I was really happy with the way I played,” Schraa said. “I was really energized and I was just so confident to win today. We were playing our top competitor, so I was really excited.”
Schraa has helped ignite the Cards’ singles lineup throughout the season.
“My mindset was to keep going and not go to a third set,” she noted. “I always try to avoid those, I was thinking to work hard and stay focused. So, I stayed focused in my match today and it paid off.”
The Cardinals’ No. 1 doubles team had a different look in the semifinals against Darien. Junior Kyra Dybas partnered with senior Julia Tamis at the top singles spot for the Cardinals for the big matchup. Dybas, who usually plays at No. 1 singles for the Cardinals, switched to first doubles since junior Emily Weinstein, who normally plays No. 1 doubles, did not play due to an injury.
Executing their shots efficiently, Tamis and Dybas were victorious against Darien’s Ava de Castro and Grace Althoff, 6-4, 6-3, at No. 1
“We went with a different line up for this match,” Shropshire said. “I thought Kyra and Julia would make a great team at first doubles, which they did. With the strength of the team this year, we have enough depth on our singles line up that allowed us to take Kyra out for FCIACs.”
With the match tied at 3-3, the deciding match was at second doubles, where Darien seniors Remy Sufrin/Delaney Das edged Greenwich sophomore Yume Inagawa and freshman Caitlin Mahoney, 6-7 (3), 6-4.
At No. 3 doubles, sophomore Emme Pecorin and freshman Maddy Wilber gave GHS a 6-1, 6-4 win over Darien. After starting the season 5-3, the Blue Wave have won nine straight matches and are now 14-3, heading into today’s championship match against rival New Canaan.
Categories: Greenwich High, Spring sports
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