FCIAC tennis teams and players dominate state postseason

The strength of the FCIAC in girls tennis and boys tennis was certainly exemplified by the many championships won in the state class tournaments for teams and the invitational tournaments for individuals.

There were several major highlights for the conference.

Among them: Staples won its sixth straight CIAC Class LL Boys Tennis Tournament team championship, Darien won the boys Class L crown for the third consecutive year, Petro Kuzmenok of Fairfield Warde defended his singles championship at the 2022 CIAC Boys Tennis Invitational, and Lauren Zhang of Darien won the girls state invitational singles title after she helped the Blue Wave win the Class LL team championship.

All four teams in the finals of both the Class LL and Class L boys team tournaments were FCIAC teams.

Another example of the overall strength of the FCIAC is the fact that the conference had three of the of the four semifinal teams in the Class LL girls and Class LL boys tournaments.

Gabby and Ellie Price, sisters who are teammates for Fairfield Ludlowe, teamed up to win the doubles championship at the CIAC Girls Tennis Invitational with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Darien’s Grace Althoff and Ava deCastro on Friday, June 10, at Wesleyan University.

Gabby Price is a senior and her younger sister, Ellie, is a junior. The top-seeded Price sisters rallied back for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 semifinal victory over Jordana Latzman and Audrey Kercher of Staples on Thursday, June 9.

Kuzmenok of Fairfield Warde was seeded No. 2 and he defended his singles championship at the CIAC Boys Tennis Invitational with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over top-seeded Tighe Brunetti of Staples on June 10.

The Staples duo of Luke Brodsky and Alex Guadarrama, seeded No. 2, won the doubles title at the CIAC Boys Tennis Invitational with a 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 victory over Darien’s top-seeded Anders Hansen and Will Donnelly on June 10.

The fifth-seeded Staples Wreckers won their sixth consecutive boys Class LL team championship with a 5-1 victory over second-seeded Greenwich on June 4 at Wesleyan.

The Wreckers began their championship streak when they and Greenwich shared the 2016 Class LL crown as co-champions. The Wreckers have won the last five outright.

Staples defeated eighth-seeded Amity, 6-1, in this year’s semifinals. Greenwich advanced to the final with a 4-3 semifinal victory over sixth-seeded Westhill, the FCIAC team champion.

After Staples and Greenwich shared the Class LL title in 2016, Staples beat Greenwich three straight times in Class LL championship showdowns from 2017-19. The COVID-19 pandemic canceled all spring sports in 2020, and last year Staples defeated Westhill in the Class LL final.

Darien was seeded third in the 2022 CIAC Class LL Boys Tennis Tournament and the Blue Wave copped that third consecutive crown with a 6-1 victory over 12th-seeded New Canaan.

New Canaan’s Rams stunned top-seeded East Lyme with a 7-0 shutout victory in the semifinals. Darien advanced to the final with a 6-1 victory over second-seeded Daniel Hand.

Zhang, Darien’s freshman sensation, capped off her undefeated season by winning the singles championship at the 2022 CIAC Girls Tennis Invitational five days after she helped lead the Blue Wave to the CIAC Class LL Girls Tournament team championship.

Zhang registered two big victories over Amity’s Kiley Pickens within that span of five days. Pickens was the defending CIAC Girls Tennis Invitational singles champion and Zhang dethroned her by a 6-2, 6-0 margin on June 10 at Wesleyan.

Five days earlier at the same venue, on June 5, Zhang posted a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Pickens and that helped lead second-seeded Darien to the Class LL girls team championship with 5-2 victory over top-seeded Amity in a showdown of undefeated teams.

Darien advanced to the final with a 4-2 victory over third-seeded and defending champion Staples while Amity nipped 12th-seeded Wilton, 4-3.

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