On one of the few sunny days in an otherwise wet and rainy season, the No. 1 seed Darien High School girls tennis team defeated No. 4 seed New Canaan in the FCIAC semifinals Monday at Darien High School.
And while Darien ultimately won 6-1, it was a match, both coaches remarked, where the final score did not tell the whole story.
“I think there were a lot of hard fought battles out there,” New Canaan coach Susan Lovejoy said. “And maybe some of these scores don’t indicate that, but there really were. They were all really well played, I thought.”
Darien coach Anne-Lise Brown agreed.
“We’ve come out with these wins and they look really good on paper, but the girls really had to work hard,” she said.
That intensity was on display at number one singles, where Darien’s Lilly Ma faced New Canaan’s Ashley Walker. After losing the first set 6-0, Walker battled back in the second set to force a tiebreaker, before ultimately losing to Ma 6-0, 7-6 (7-4). Walker had previously lost to Ma in the regular season 6-1, 6-2.
“Ashley is a great player, and she obviously rebounded from a 6-0 first set and I give her tons of credit for that,” Brown said.
At singles 2, Darien’s Emilia Callery defeated New Canaan’s Maddy Wilson 6-2, 6-3. Callery was down 3-0 in the second set, before winning six straight games to close out the match.
“She really rallied for that second set, so that was a great win for Emilia,” Brown said.
Rounding out the singles matches were Darien freshman Emily Wiley at No. 3, who defeated New Canaan’s Caroline Mayock 6-3, 6-0, and at singles 4, Darien freshman Katie Wiley who beat New Canaan’s Imogen Smith 6-2, 6-2.
New Canaan’s only victory came in the longest match of the day, a three-set nail biter at No. 2 doubles.
After Darien’s Quin Wolters and Elaina Cummiskey won the first set against Chloe Sigg and Jordyn Lee 6-4, New Canaan won the second set in a tiebreaker 7-6 before closing out the match in the final set 6-2.
“Chloe and Jordyn are a really tough, good team,” Lovejoy said. “Chloe tends to control a lot of the points, and I think she does a really good job at that.”
In the other two doubles matches, at No. 1, Darien’s Emily Neuner and Juliet Homes defeated Jenny Loomis and Cassidy Little 6-3, 6-1, and at No. 3, Darien’s Caroline Homes and Daniela Castellanos defeated Liz Gehnrich and Grace Ruksznis 6-4, 6-3.
“Darien is tough, every year they are, and I know Anne-Lise Brown and she does a heck of a job with the team,” Lovejoy said. “They’ve got a terrific roster right now, very deep and very strong, and I wish them luck. I hope they do well, and I think they will do well for a few more years.”
By beating New Canaan in the FCIAC semifinals, Darien extended its perfect record to 18-0, while the Rams fell to 14-4.
The Wave will now move on to the FCIAC final for a match against No. 2 seed Staples at 4 p.m., Wednesday, at the Wilton High School courts. Darien beat Staples in the regular season, 5-2.
FCIAC Girls Tennis Semifinals – Darien 6, New Canaan 1
Monday, May 21, at Darien HS
Lilly Ma (D) def. Ashley Walker 6-0. 7-6
Emilia Callery (D) def. Maddy Wilson 6-2, 6-3
Emily Wiley (D) def. Caroline Mayock 6-3, 6-0
Katie Wiley (D) def. Imogen Smith 6-2, 6-2
Juliet Homes and Emily Neuner (D) def. Jenny Loomis and Cassidy Little 6-3, 6-1
Chloe Sigg and Jordyn Lee (NC) def. Quin Wolters and Elaina Cummiskey 4-6, 7-6, 6-2
Caroline Homes and Daniela Castellanos (D) def. Liz Gehnrich and Grace Ruksznis 6-4, 6-3