Simply perfect: Darien girls tennis storms toward postseason unbeaten

With two matches left in the regular season, the Darien High School girls tennis team is undefeated rolling into the FCIAC tournament, which starts next Wednesday, May 16.

The team won its 14th consecutive match on Tuesday, as the Wave celebrated Senior Day under a cloudless blue sky by shutting out Westhill 7-0.

The win comes on the heels of decisive victories against perennial rivals Staples and New Canaan, as well as a win against Stamford. Darien also defeated St. Joseph on Thursday, extending its win streak to 15 games with one remaining before the postseason. The Wave will be the No. 1 seed, and will host a quarterfinal match against a yet to be determined opponent.

Playing at home in front of a packed crowd last Tuesday, Darien defeated Staples 5-2. Staples was the only team to defeat the Wave last season, before losing to Darien in last year’s FCIAC final.

“In the past we’ve had some trouble with Staples,” co-captain Emilia Callery said, “so I’m happy we’ve got that difficult competitive match behind us and we came out successful.”

Going undefeated so far this season at No. 1 singles is Lily Ma, who beat Alyssa DiMaio 6-3, 6-2. Callery, playing at No. 2 singles, defeated Olivia Foster 7-5, 6-1. Also going undefeated this season is freshman Katie Wiley, who won against Natalie Carozza 6-3, 6-2 at No. 4 singles.

After a hard-fought match, Emily Wiley lost to Carine Geijerstam 7-5, 6-2.

“It was definitely a tight match,” head coach Anne-Lise Brown said. “It probably could have gone either way, but she fought hard.”

At No. 1 doubles, Emily Neuner and Juliet Homes lost a close match to Kristin Butler and Hannah Bjorkman, 6-3, 7-6.

“It was our hardest match we’ve had so far in the season,” Neuner said. “We just tried to play smart and aggressive, but at the end of the day they were just playing well and there wasn’t much we could do.”

Winning at No. 2 doubles were Elaina Cummiskey and Quinn Wolters, who defeated Gabriela Vega and Olivia Gordy 6-3, 7-5.

Freshmen Caroline Homes and Daniela Castellanos, who after several tight matches remain undefeated as a pair, defeated Lily Smith and Alisyn Kercher at No. 3 doubles 6-4, 6-7, 10-7.

Playing at New Canaan on Thursday, May 3, the Wave pulled out another win 6-1, taking all four singles courts. Ma defeated Ashley Walker 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles; Callery defeated Maddy Wilson 6-4, 6-0 at No. 2; Emily Wiley defeated Caroline Mayock 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3; and Katie Wiley defeated Sophie Gardner 6-0, 6-4 at No. 4 singles.

At No. 1 doubles, Juliet Homes and Neuner defeated Jenny Loomis and Jordyn Lee 6-0, 6-1, while at No. 3 Caroline Homes and Castellanos defeated Liz Gehnrich and Grace Ruksznis 6-3, 6-4. The team’s only loss came at No. 2 doubles, where Chloe Sigg and Cassidy Little defeated Wolters and Cummiskey 6-2, 6-4.

Coach Brown credited a large part of the team’s success to the three senior captains: Neuner, Callery and Daphne Gray, who has been sidelined all season by an injury.

“They have been phenomenal,” Brown said. “I give a huge shout out to Daphne, because she has been unable to play, and yet she is at all our matches and is a cheerleader extraordinaire.  She’s been a really great leader for our young girls.”

Looking forward to the FCIACs, Neuner said the team is excited about possibly winning their third straight championship.

“We have to keep doing what we’re doing right now,” Neuner said. “Everyone is playing well and has been really focused. If we just keep that up and try to repeat what we’re doing, we’ll have the same results — I hope.”

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Junior Lily Ma has helped the Darien girls tennis team go undefeated to date this season. The Wave will be the No. 1 seed when the FCIAC playoffs begin on Wednesday, May 16. — Darien Athletic Foundation photo

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