Boys Tennis: Greenwich claims two crowns; New Canaan takes Class L title

It was a double crown season for the second straight year for the Greenwich boys’ tennis team as the Cardinals defended their championships at the FCIAC and CIAC Class LL Tournaments.

The FCIAC’s elite teams were so strong this year that a combined four conference teams advanced to the finals of the two largest state tournaments. So obviously two teams won state championships as New Canaan copped the CIAC Class L crown.

Coach Ray Marschall’s Greenwich Cardinals defended their FCIAC championship with a 4-2 victory over New Canaan in the May 20 championship match and 10 days later they defeated Staples, 4-1, in a rematch of last year’s final at the state Class LL tournament. The championship matches of the FCIAC and CIAC Class LL tournaments were both played at the neutral site of Wilton High School.

New Canaan shut out Wilton, 4-0, in the state Class L championship match at Joel Barlow High School on May 30. Six days later at the CIAC State Invitational for boys and girls’ singles players and doubles teams, New Canaan’s Nate Smock and Kevin Zuo were seeded No. 1 and they won the doubles championship and finished the season undefeated with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over third-seeded Matthew Guadarrama and Hayden Frey of Staples.

Greenwich had an unbeaten regular season with a 15-0 record.

New Canaan and Staples tied for second place in the FCIAC standings with 13-2 records. New Canaan was seeded No. 2 in the conference tournament because the host Rams defeated Staples, 6-1, on April 9. Westhill and Darien both finished 12-3 and the Westhill Vikings earned the fourth seed via the tiebreaker of their victory over Darien in the regular season.

Wilton and Ridgefield were both 9-6 and Wilton’s Warriors were seeded No. 6 because of their win over Ridgefield. Fairfield Ludlowe’s victory over Trumbull in the regular season inevitably earned Ludlowe’s Falcons the final playoff berth as both teams finished with 8-7 records.

Greenwich defeated Fairfield Ludlowe and Staples beat Wilton by the shutout scores of 4-0, while New Canaan defeated Ridgefield and Darien topped Westhill by the close scores of 4-3 in the opening quarterfinal round of the FCIAC tournament.

Greenwich beat Darien and New Canaan defeated Staples by the identical scores of 4-1 to advance to the final, where Greenwich’s Cardinals won their 18th overall FCIAC championship with that 4-2 victory.

Greenwich’s No. 3 doubles team of juniors Ishan Ambastha and Daniel Lee came back for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory to give the Cardinals the championship.

Greenwich got its previous three victories in singles matches from team captain Manuel Galli Specos at No. 2 singles, junior Matthew Hunt at No. 3 singles, and sophomore Elias Orrell at No. 4 singles.

New Canaan sophomore Jackson Mountford won a very good No. 1 singles match with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Greenwich junior Alexander Salib. The Rams got their other victory from their Smock-Zuo duo which won by the scores of 6-2, 6-3 over Greenwich’s very strong No. 1 doubles team of Harrison Wolfe and Rohan Mittal.

The Smock-Zuo and Wolfe-Mittal partnerships and the Staples tandem of Guadarrama and Frey were all selected to the All-FCIAC Boys Tennis First Team Doubles.

Mountford was the conference’s MVP as he led the six-player All-FCIAC First Team Singles which also included Norwalk’s Danny Wachira, Trumbull’s Justin Ilie, Darien’s Will Donnelly, Ridgefield’s Caleb Pajak, and Noah Wolff of Staples.

The six players who made All-FCIAC Second Team Singles were Wilton’s Akhil Vallabhajosula, Westhill’s Rachit Jha, Darien’s Kai Collins, Trumbull’s Dean Jackson, Galli Specos of Greenwich, and New Canaan’s Will Sweet.

The six players on the three teams selected All-FCIAC Second Team Doubles were Daniel Lee and Bruce Lunder of Greenwich, Vadaanya Paliwal and Rohan Sahu of Westhill, and Julian Doshi and Jack McDonough of New Canaan.

Greenwich’s Cardinals were 22-0 overall this season after going 3-0 in the FCIAC tournament and 4-0 in state Class LL tourney.

Three of the four teams in the semifinals of the CIAC Class LL tournament were FCIAC teams. Greenwich, seeded second, advanced to the championship with a 4-1 victory over No. 6 Darien and No. 5 Staples knocked off top-seeded Fairfield Prep, 4-3.

Greenwich’s 4-1 victory over Staples in the state championship match was their 44th consecutive victory over the last two years as they had their second straight 22-0 season this year.

The 10 FCIAC teams had a winning percentage of .731 in the two largest state tournaments with a 19-7 combined record. The seven teams in the Class LL tourney had an 11-5 record while the three Class L teams combined to go 8-2.

New Canaan’s Rams finished with a very good 19-3 overall record after going 2-1 in the FCIAC tournament and 4-0 in the state Class L tourney.

New Canaan has the record of 19 FCIAC team championships and Greenwich is now just one behind with 18.

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