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Sunday, May 26 News

Undefeated Staples rolling into postseason

WESTPORT — The Staples girls tennis team is on a similar path as last season.

The Wreckers, who went on to capture FCIAC and Class L state championships in 2018, seem poised for a repeat performance due to the strength of a fairly young, deep and talented team.

Staples (15-0) has already clinched the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament following a 7-0 victory at New Canaan on Tuesday. If they win their last two matches, the Wreckers will lock up the top seed in Class L.

Add in that they have won 29 consecutive matches, including an astounding 52 in a row at home, and it’s safe to say they are the frontrunners ahead of the postseason.

“There are so many good tennis players it makes our depth just outstanding,” said coach Paco Fabian, who is being recognized by the CTHSCA as coach of the year for 2018 on Thursday. “We can win anywhere throughout the lineup, No. 1 singles all the way down to No. 3 doubles. We’re a very well-rounded team.

“We’ve got a very good thing going with great chemistry and the girls are having fun. When you’re winning, it’s a lot of fun.”

It’s safe to say Staples has been having a lot of fun recently, especially No. 1 singles player Alyssa DiMaio. The junior captain, who was runner-up at the State Open and is ranked in the top 10 in New England, is having another strong season with just one loss.

“She has some great wins this year against Greenwich’s Martine Fierro and Wilton’s Izzy Koziol, and those are girls in the top 10 in the state,” Fabian said. “She’s one of our leaders and we need her to play really well.”

Fabian is also high on his freshman singles players: Amelia Galin at No. 2 and Jordana Latzman at No. 3. Galin is undefeated and Latzman has been solid, according to Fabian.

“Having those girls step in really has been great for our team,” the coach said.

Joining DiMaio in leading the team are senior captains Lily Smith, at No. 1 doubles, and Luiza Cocito, at No. 3 doubles.

Smith, who along with the other seniors have never experienced a home loss as a team in their careers, said the team is happy with what it has accomplished so far but won’t be satisfied until it has reached the top.

“We definitely have worked really hard to be here,” said Smith, who teams up with junior Olivia Gordy in doubles. “I think I can attribute it to team camaraderie, so much depth and we have such a good time.”

Cocito is usually partnered with junior Allison Katz and sophomores Natalie Carozza and Dylan

Dasbach make up the No. 2 doubles team.

Fabian said one of the highlights of the season so far was the team’s 4-3 win over Darien last week. The Blue Wave were runners-up to the Wreckers in the FCIAC and Class L last season.

“Darien is a top team and even though it’s a heated rivalry, we respect them,” Fabian said. “We have to bring our ‘A’ game in order to beat them again.

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“We’re happy where we are but we have a long way to go,” Fabian cautioned. “The hard part of the schedule comes up during the playoffs.”

Staples hosted Weston in a non-league encounter Wednesday and wrapped up the regular season against St. Joseph on Thursday at home.

BOYS TENNIS

The Staples boys tennis team clinched the No. 1 seed in next week’s FCIAC Tournament after defeating previously unbeaten New Canaan 5-2 on Tuesday.

Head coach Kris Hrisovulos said on Monday his team learned from its 4-3 loss to Greenwich, and the Wreckers (14-1) certainly proved it on Tuesday.

“I feel good about where our tennis is, and the kids are playing for each other,” said Hrisovulos, who admitted this year’s version is the deepest he’s had in his 10 seasons. “I give credit to Greenwich, but in five of the seven matches we were ahead. We just didn’t finish.”

Staples may get a rematch if it meets the Cardinals in the FCIAC playoffs but the Wreckers finish out the regular season at Weston on Wednesday and at St. Joseph on Thursday.

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