Fairfield Ludlowe's boys tennis team was coming off three straight easy victories, so a match with unbeaten and always tough Staples was welcomed in many ways. The Wreckers were not such nice hosts, though, dominating Monday afternoon's FCIAC match with a convincing 7-0 victory in Westport.
The good news for the Falcons, now 3-2 overall, is that this proved to be a good test and, in the eyes of Ludlowe coach Andy Jorgensen, a bit of a wakeup call. Staples keeps cruising along and improved to 5-0 overall.
"I've urged the boys to come out and be a well-oiled machine per se," Staples coach Kris Hrisovulos said. "We're a very experienced team."
With 10 of 14 of the Wreckers' players having returned from last season, including seven seniors and seven of nine starters, Staples came into the match with an advantage over Ludlowe on paper.
Despite taking their proverbial lumps, at least one of the Falcons liked having such tough competition.
"I really enjoyed playing this match," said Ludlowe captain and top singles player Alex Barker, who lost his first of the season, falling 6-1, 6-2 to Zack Levin.
"I'd rather play against someone at that high of a level. I played some of the best tennis I've ever played. I'd much rather play him and lose than play someone who doesn't have much of a game."
Barker said tough competition forces players to step up their game and perform at a high level.
At No. 2 singles, Luke Foreman, of Staples, defeated Ethan King 6-0, 6-0. At third singles, Jack Reardon topped Mason Jennings 6-2, 6-2. Fourth singles player Connor Mitnick beat Parker Doyle, of Ludlowe, 6-3, 2-6, 10-6. At No. 5 singles, Max Zimmerman prevailed over the Falcons' Jeffrey Pearson 6-1, 6-0.
In doubles play, the top tandem of Josh Moskovitz and Will Andrews beat Connor Doyle and Alex Skobin 6-1, 6-3. The No. 2 Wreckers' duo of Baxter Stein and Jason Chaskin defeated Sarthak Bothra and Zach Angel 6-2, 6-1.
The Falcons knew this was going to be a difficult task, but Jorgensen was pleased with his team's approach. "They still came in with a positive attitude," he said. Everybody put in a hard effort."
Jorgensen said this type of competition helps his players prepare for future tough matches, such as the scheduled April 28 visit to Wilton.
The Wreckers didn't take the Falcons, whose only blemish coming in was a 4-3 loss to New Canaan, lightly. Ludlowe went 13-3 a year ago and has traditionally been a strong team in the FCIAC.
"We knew they were going to give us a fight. We started strong and finished strong," Foreman said. "I think everybody put forth a good effort today."
Andy Hutchison is a freelance reporter