Staples’ tennis teams ruled state tournaments in 2018

The Staples girls’ tennis team and Staples boys’ tennis team both won state class team championships, Evan Felcher of Staples was the State Open individual boys singles champion, while girls and boys doubles teams from the FCIAC won State Open titles to highlight the dominance of the conference at state championship tennis tournaments.

Hanna Bjorkman and Kristin Butler of Staples teamed up to win the State Open girls doubles championship several days after they won their doubles match when the Wreckers defeated Darien, 4-3, to win their team title in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class L Girls Tennis Tournament.

Felcher was the singles runner-up to Trumbull’s Andy Ilie while helping Staples defend its team title in the CIAC Class LL Boys Tennis Tournament. Several days later Felcher and Ilie both advanced to the State Open championship match to set up their rematch. Felcher prevailed in the Open finals by a 6-1, 6-2 margin. Ilie previously won the Class LL finals, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

The State Open doubles competition had FCIAC teams playing against each other in both the girls and boys’ championship matches. The State Open format does not include team championships being contested.

Bjorkman and Butler prevailed in the third-set tiebreaker to win their State Open girls doubles championship with a 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 (10-8) victory over Devon Yaghmaie and Taylor Yagmaie of Stamford.

Taishi Hosokawa and Prem Dave of Norwalk teamed up to win the boys doubles championship at the State Open with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Eric Greenberg and Jack Tooker of Staples, 6-3, 6-3.

It was the second time the Hosokawa/Dave duo defeated that same doubles team from Staples. Hosokawa and Dave were seeded third and they posted a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the top-seeded Greenburg/Tooker team in the boys’ doubles final of the Class LL tournament, though the Staples duo’s runner-up finish was vital toward the Wreckers winning the team title.

The fact that Staples players advanced to the singles and doubles finals and 11th-seeded Benjamin Stein of Staples advanced to the boys singles semifinals led the way toward the Wreckers repeating as Class LL champions.

Greenwich was runner-up to Staples for the second consecutive year. Two years ago Staples and Greenwich shared the 2016 Class LL crown as co-champions.

Those two perennial powers were also the top two teams in the Class LL tournament for four consecutive years from 2011-14 – with Staples finishing first in 2012 and ’14 and Greenwich winning in 2011 and ’13.

The format for the CIAC Class LL Girls Tennis Tournament is different in that teams play against each other with lineups of four singles players and three doubles teams and whichever teams wins the most matches advances through the team brackets.

All seven matches began simultaneously in Staples’ eventual 4-3 victory over Darien.

It was tied up at 3-3 after the first six matches concluded, which put all the attention on the longest and last singles match. Olivia Foster recovered from not winning a game in the second set and she won the third and final set in the match which ended last to give Staples the team title with her 7-5, 0-6, 6-4 victory over Darien’s Emilia Callery.

The Wreckers had a 3-2 lead after the conclusion of the fifth match. Darien’s Katie Wiley won the last two sets of her match and her 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 comeback victory over Alisyn Kercher tied it up for Darien to set up the drama of that final match.

Alyssa DiMaio of Staples was really on her game as she beat an excellent Darien player, Lilly Ma, 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 1 singles match. In addition to that aforementioned Butler-Bjorkman victory, Staples got another doubles victory from the duo of Lily Smith and Natalie Carozza.

Emily Wiley got Darien’s other singles victory while Elaina Cummiskey and Quin Wolters teamed up for Darien’s doubles victory.

The Class LL finals match was a rematch of the FCIAC finals match and Staples also won that by the same 4-3 score.

Several days after the girls Class LL final, DiMaio advanced to the State Open girls singles finals with a 6-3, 6-1 semifinal victory over Glastonbury’s Madeline DeNucci before Gabriella Dellacono of Stonington won the championship with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over DiMaio.

Prior to the State Open, second-seeded Bobby Neuner of Darien advanced to the Class L boys singles championship match and lost a very close match to top-seeded Andrew Forchetti of Notre Dame-West Haven, 6-4, 7-5.

Neuner and Forchetti then both advanced to the State Open semifinals. Trumbull’s Ilie lost the first set and rallied back for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Neuner while eventual champion Felcher defeated Forchetti, 6-3, 6-1.

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