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Greenwich High boys tennis team repeats as FCIAC Tournament champions

By David Fierro

From left to right: Greenwich High School boys tennis team captains Bruce Lunder, Manuel Galli Specos and Harrison Wolfe display the championship hardware after the Cardinals won the FCIAC Tournament by defeating New Canaan at Wilton High School on May 20. Contributed photo

Champions again.

Coming off a 2023 season in which it went undefeated, while capturing the FCIAC and Class LL Tournament championships, the Greenwich High School boys tennis team is well on its way to duplicating last season’s success this spring.

Top-seeded Greenwich’s 4-2 win over New Canaan in the championship match of the FCIAC Boys Tennis Tournament on May 20th at Wilton High School, gave the Cardinals their second straight conference tournament title and 18th overall, the most in the FCIAC.

Greenwich, which went a perfect 22-0 one season ago, sports a record of 18-0 so far this spring. Monday’s FCIAC Tournament final featured outstanding play from the successful squads.

“It was an extraordinarily tight match and both teams have a tremendous amount of respect for each other,” Greenwich coach Ray Marschall said. “New Canaan is a top- notch program led by Ben Young, who is a really good coach and a squad of great guys both on the court and off.  I’m kind of happy they’re in the L division for states and wish them the best of luck.”

The Cardinals, who beat Darien in the FCIAC semifinals in a rematch of the 2023 conference tournament final, won three of the four singles matches and took a key doubles match to earn the title win against the Rams.

Manuel Galli Specos, Matthew Hunt and Elias Orrell each won their singles matches for the Cardinals versus the Rams. Galli Specos, a junior, won his No. 2 singles match in straight sets against New Canaan’s William Sweet.

“Manuel at 2, walked out looking so confident and poised and while he had played his opponent before, he seemed to be playing at the top of his game with a quick two set win,” Marschall said.

Hunt, a junior, was on top of his game as well, defeating New Canaan’s Nick Brillo, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 3 singles.

“I was nervous at first but once I settled in and figured him out it was pretty much smooth sailing from there,” Hunt said. “He has a trick game, hitting mostly forehands so I had to figure a way to draw him out of that corner and expose his biggest weakness, his backhand.”

“I brought energy from the start and as coach likes to say, I started slowly squeezing as the match went on to take the energy out of him,” Hunt continued. “A big key was to make sure I kept him out of the match by bringing a lot of and not letting him string together points in a row.”

“Today, Matt was on his game and won decisively,” added Marschall, who noted that Hunt and Brillo “had a very tight three-set match three weeks ago.”

Sophomore Elias Orrell gave Greenwich a 6-3, 6-0 win against Alexander Powers at fourth singles.

“Perhaps the lineup story of the day was Elias Orrell playing in his first postseason match, which he found out about only 20 minutes before his match began, when our number four singles player said his knee was bothering him,” Marschall noted. “After a somewhat nervous start, Elias figured out his opponents’ game plan and took the first set and six straight games in the second set.”

New Canaan’s singles victory came from sophomore Jackson Mountford, who edged Cardinals junior Alexander Salib, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, at No. 1.

“Alex Salib played really well and took the second set off the New Canaan top singles player (something I don’t think has happened very often this season),” Marschall said.

At No. 1 doubles, senior Harrison Wolfe and junior Rohan Mittal of GHS lost a tough 6-2, 6-3 match against Nathan Smock/Kevin Zou. Wolfe and Mittal have paced Greenwich’s doubles teams this season. Senior Bruce Lunder and sophomore Volodymyr Dombrovskyi of Greenwich played Julian Doshi/Jack McDonough at second doubles, which was not completed. Lunder/Dombrovskyi won the opening set, 7-5, lost the second set 4-6 and were up in the third set, 2-1.

The clinching match came at third doubles, where GHS juniors Ishan Ambastha/Daniel Lee came back to defeat Avery Cotton and Tommy Fox, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

“The magic was back on our favorite court up at Wilton,” Marschall noted. “Last year, third doubles won their match the deciding seventh match… And this year, Daniel and Ishan came back from a sit down to win the next two sets and clinch the FCIAC title.”

Heading into the upcoming CIAC Class LL Tournament, Greenwich has won 40 consecutive matches dating back to last season.

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