By Dave Crandall
NEW CANAAN ““ The Darien girls tennis team suffered its first No. 1 doubles loss of the season, but aside from that, it was not easy to find a blemish in the Wave’s stellar performance Monday against rival New Canaan. The Blue Wave rolled the Rams, 6-1, to extend its winning streak to 11 straight matches.
Darien (13-1) had previously shutout its last six opponents, while New Canaan (6-7) now hovers on the cusp of qualifying for the FCIAC tournament.
Despite the loss, Rams coach Eric Fey remains positive about this year’s squad.
“I have an awesome group of girls,” Fey said. “They fight really well, and they are starting to believe they can win matches. They’ve come so far this season, and I’m proud of them.”
Fey shuffled his line-up so that New Canaan’s usual No. 1 singles player, co-captain Emily Brand, was slotted in No. 1 doubles with Sarah Lovejoy, and the No. 2 singles player, sophomore Caroline Gordon, moved up to the top singles spot.
However, Darien was not fazed by the changes and continued to dominate in singles, as it has all season. The Rams could not push any of the singles matches to three sets and, in fact, could not garner more than two games in any of the sets.
The doubles matches were a different story.
In the No. 1 doubles match, Brand and Lovejoy faced the Darien tandem of Erika Gill and captain Libby Feingold, who won the first set handily for the Wave, 6-0.
“It was tough,” said Brand. “But we started getting momentum and getting on our game more, and Sarah and I said ’we can do this, we can come back’.”
Sure enough, the Ram duo took the next set 6-3 and then rode its newfound momentum into the third set, downing the Wave 6-2 to claim New Canaan’s only win of the day.
“They played well,” Feingold said. “We came off strong, but they started picking up momentum. I think Erika and I played well too, but we just couldn’t get the win today.”
The No. 3 doubles match was closer still. The Wave’s Allegra Molkenthin and Susie Alptekin battled New Canaan’s Caroline Pratt and Abby Crowley over three tightly contested sets. The Rams took the first frame 6-3, before the two subsequent sets went to tie-breakers, each ending in Darien’s favor.
“Darien is strong top to bottom,” said Fey. “Everyone strikes the ball really well.” Read Full Article
Darien freshman Kateri Martin played in the No.1 singles slot, and she easily got past Gordon 6-0, 6-1.
In the other singles matches, Darien’s Mia Dursht defeated Camryn Schlim 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 2 position. At No. 3 singles, Darien’s Pia Teschner took down Schuyler O’Mahoney 6-2, 6-0, and at No. 4, New Canaan’s Charlotte Craig fell to Katie Lashendock, 6-2, 6-1.
In the No. 2 doubles match, New Canaan’s Katie Means and Brittany Barber fell to Anna Barsati and Catherine Hatfield, 6-2, 6-1.
“We really look forward to playing Darien because of the Darien-New Canaan rivalry,” Brand said. “In the past it has been closer, but there is always good tennis between our two teams. They are a great opponent.”