Greenwich, Wilton crowns highlight FCIAC’s boys tennis season

It was quite the banner year for the Greenwich High School boys’ tennis team in winning conference and state championships, and Wilton was another FCIAC team which won a state championship.

Wilton’s Warriors won the 2023 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class L Boys Tennis Tournament with a 5-1 victory in the final over fellow FCIAC member New Canaan on June 1.

Wilton shut out Farmington, 7-0, in the semifinals while New Canaan advanced to the Class L final with a 6-1 victory over Amity.

Greenwich nipped Darien, 4-3, in the championship match of the 2023 FCIAC Boys Tennis Tournament in late May to win its first FCIAC team championship since 2013.

And shortly thereafter on June 1, coach Ray Marschall’s Cardinals dethroned Staples, 4-0, in the CIAC Class LL Boys Tennis Tournament final to give Greenwich its first state championship since Greenwich and Staples were crowned co-champions in 2016.

Beginning with the following 2017 season, Staples had won the previous five Class LL state championships from 2017-22, excluding the pandemic 2020 season in which all high school spring sports were canceled.

Team points were accumulated dependent on how deep the singles players and doubles teams advanced in their respective brackets in the state class tournaments until 2019. Then the format switched to teams playing head-to-head against each other during the last three years from 2021-23.

Greenwich placed runner-up to Staples during those three years from 2017-19.

This year’s Class LL final was a rematch of last year’s championship match which Staples won, 4-1.

Greenwich’s Cardinals got their four victories in this year’s final from No. 1 singles player Dylan Atkinson, No. 2 singles player Volodymyre Dombrovskyi, the No. 2 doubles team of Harrison Wolfe and Rohan Mittall, and the No. 3 doubles team of Bruce Lunder and Alex Salib.

There were other matches being played which got into a third set, but once the Cardinals got their four victories in straight sets, the team state championship was secured and there was no need for the other matches to be completed.

Atkinson and Greenwich’s No. 2 doubles duo of Wolfe and Mittall won their matches in the FCIAC final to contribute to Greenwich’s 4-3 victory over Darien, which was the same score in which the Cardinals previously beat the Blue Wave during the regular season.

Second-seeded Darien nipped third-seeded Wilton, 4-3, to advance to the conference final and Greenwich’s top-seeded Cardinals got there with a 4-0 semifinal victory over fifth-seeded Staples.

With this year’s FCIAC final tied at 3-3 and the No. 3 doubles match the only one still being contested, Lunder and Salib ignited the Cardinals’ celebration with their 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 victory.

In addition to that win and the victories by Atkinson and that Wolfe-Mittall doubles team, Greenwich also received a pivotal win from Manuel Galli-Specos at No. 4 singles.

Darien got its three victories from No. 2 singles player Sam Donnelly, No. 3 singles player Kyle Patrick, and the No. 1 doubles team of Will Donnelly and Aidan White.

Atkinson won a good battle with his 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 victory over Darien’s Teddy Callery in the No. 1 singles match.

Atkinson and Callery were both selected to the 2023 All-FCIAC Boys Tennis First Team Singles along with Darien’s Sam Donnelly and Stamford’s Omar Rhazali, while Fairfield Warde’s Petro Kuzmenok was the conference’s MVP one year after he shared the conference’s MVP award with Tighe Brunetti of Staples.

The four duos selected All-FCIAC First Team Doubles were Cai Jain and Nick O’Brien of Greenwich, Will Donnelly and Aidan White of Darien, Manuel Montejo and Enzo Giovanini of Fairfield Warde, and Hayden Frey and Mattie Guadarrama of Staples.

Dombrovskyi made All-FCIAC Second Team Singles along with Jackson Mountford of New Canaan, Vishal Nayack of Westhill, and Caleb Pajak of Ridgefield.

The All-FCIAC Second Team Doubles selections included Nikolai Naydenov and Jonathan Yerrall of Wilton, Jack McDonough and Kevin Zuo of New Canaan, Ignas Panavas and Alex Prokopczyk of Ridgefield, and that successful Mittal-Wolfe pair from Greenwich which was victorious in both the FCIAC and state Class LL championship matches.

After the state class tournaments, the CIAC Invitational was held for individual singles players and doubles teams. Kuzmenok became a three-time Invitational winner. Kuzmenok completed his excellent three-year career by going unbeaten this past senior season and finishing with a 53-3 career record in singles matches. Mittal and Wolfe won the doubles championship.

NOTES: Greenwich, which had won 11 of the 12 FCIAC team championships from 2002-13, won its 17th overall conference crown this spring. That is the second most behind New Canaan’s record of 19 FCIAC team championships since the Rams won the first conference title in 1963 and the first eight from 1963-70.

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