HS Tennis Preview
FAIRFIELD — Thanks to a solid core of singles players that rose together through the ranks from freshmen to senior, the Ludlowe girls’ tennis team won three straight FCIAC tennis championships from 2013 to 2015. But last season, that group all graduated and it was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Falcons.
And it was, kind of.
Ludlowe struggled at times but more often than not, the Falcons kept right on winning, posting a 13-4 overall record and advancing into the FCIAC tournament and state tournament.
And the good news is, all of coach John Reisert’s top four singles players will be returning this spring.
“Having them all return should be a strength and competition for those spots amongst those four and some newcomers should strengthen us form last year,” Reisert wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen.
Number one singles player sophomore Xenia Etimov (who went 9-8 last season), No. 2 singles senior Alissa Sangiuolo (12-5), No. 3 senior Lauren Hand (10-5) and No. 4 senior Christen Chen (10-6) will all battle for the singles slots. Doubles players Sam Keane, Katherine Luttmann and Ashley Hayes also return.
“We need to get our doubles teams formed and playing together as we will most likely have three new doubles pairings this season,” Riesert wrote. “That competition will be strong with just three returning doubles players. There are several returning varsity alternates and strong JV players coming up that ensure we have a quality team.
“We want to keep raising the bar. Our goals are always to qualify for the postseason, FCIAC and states. Ending last season in the quarterfinals, we will raise the bard and strive to go deeper in the tournament.”
Warde girls coach Marilynn Jamgochian is expecting to have a deep and experienced lineup this season, looking to build off of last season’s 11-7 record.
“We will have another deep team this season,” Jamgochian wrote in her prospectus to the Citizen. “I am very excited with the strength of the returning players and the new players that moved up from the JV program.”
Megan Christenson, who played number one doubles last spring and went 9-6, will move to singles this season. Likewise, Abby Burns, who played number two doubles. Natalia Zhiltsova (11-5) played No. 3 singles and Morgan Lee (13-3) was No. 4 singles. They will be challenged by newcomers Hayley English, Elinor Daigle, Sana Nagori, Deborah Warren, Amelia Yoder and Karli Vare.
“The challenge is going to be finding the correct positions for them,” Jamgochian wrote.
Notre Dame-Fairfield girls’ tennis coach Peter Perillo did not return a prospectus form to the Citizen.
“The success of this season will rely on a whole team effort throughout our lineup,” Harvey wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “With the loss of our top three singles spots, we have a junior and sophomore class that will have to take their games to the next level for us to have success.”
Jack Johnson and Henry Johnson reached the Class LL doubles championship, losing in the finals. Warde went 9-6 in the FCIAC (fourth in the East Division) and fell to Staples in the conference quarterfinals.
Coming off a top 10 finish in the Class LL tournament, Fairfield Prep coach Harold Prather is looking for more the same success this spring.
“We have a senior laden singles group,” Prather wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “Our depth is where we shine, as always. Against our best competion we will need good efforts from every spot in the lineup to end up where we expect to be.”
Captains Frank Fortunati, Steve Westfahl, Jack Caserta and Chris Hilton will all compete for singles spots, as will Nash Lovallo and Nick Allen, who will “step up and provide a challenge to our seniors,” Prather wrote.
“We have a very solid team this year,” Prather wrote. “I am looking for our sophomores to blossom as players to compete against the top teams. We are especially looking forward to competing with Amity. I think they are starting to overlook us and I want to change that this year.”
Ludlowe went 6-9 in the FCIAC last season. Falcons coach Andy Jorgenson did not return a spring prospectus from to the Citizen.