Levenson's 3rd-set victory catapults Staples girls tennis past Ludlowe
Waiting three weeks to complete a match seems like an eternity and it's certainly not the norm.
However, weather played a role in this when the Fairfield Ludlowe girls tennis team opened the season April 6 and trailed 3-2 at Staples when the match was suspended because of rain and Staples capped the match with a 4-3 victory Wednesday -- three weeks after the match commenced and raised its record to 8-0. The Falcons dropped to 5-3.
"We tried to reschedule earlier but when the bad weather hit us, we couldn't do anything about it," said Lady Wreckers Coach Amanda Giudice, who ironically made her coaching debut when the match started. "In the end, we were able to pull through and maintain our undefeated record."
Originally, the match was rescheduled to continue April 8 but one of the players involved in the suspended matches had a college visit originally scheduled for that day. The second attempt of rescheduling it was April 13 but Mother Nature had other ideas. Last week was vacation and no tennis matches could have been scheduled after April 19.
"It's the longest gap between the start and finish of a match in my 13 years as coach," Ludlowe Coach John Reisert said.
"After the three-week period, I was able to come back with a fresh start," Levenson said. "I was more patient and waited for the right time to hit more aggressive shots."
When the rains came down three weeks ago to suspend the match, it appeared as if Quinn had the momentum because of her strong play in second set.
"We would have loved to continue the match that day," Reisert said. "Kendall had the momentum and the three-week wait affected her more than Farrel. Kendall had consistency issues and Farrel's strength is consistent. They waited it out and didn't mind 15-20 shot rallies."
Although Levenson lost the second set, it didn't mean she was going to lose the third set that day. In fact, many tennis players have won the third set after losing the second one.
"I have no idea what would have happened," Levenson said. "Logically, she had the momentum but I could have turned things around [three weeks ago]."
Although the final score of the deciding set was 6-0, it was a lot closer than the blanking would indicate. All six games were close and almost all of them -- if not all six -- were at deuce.
In fact, Levenson faced ad-out in two of three games she served. However, she forced Quinn to hit it out to escape one deuce that led to her taking a 4-0 lead and in the final game, induced Quinn to hit the net for a deuce before clinching the overall match.
"If you think about it, all the pressure is on the girl who has the ad-out because she needs to close out the point," Levenson said. "You go in knowing you're the underdog and try to bring it back to deuce."
Levenson then wrapped up both games by forcing two more errors in each of them. While dealing with ad-in, including match point, she was able to remain calm.
"It was definitely tough," Boyd said. "We had momentum going into it and we couldn't wait to get restarted. As we drove over here, we tried to get ourselves pumped up so we can close out the first set and stay strong in the second set."
Searight said, "It's definitely hard to start and restart a match because you lose your focus and you lose your place. It was definitely a lot of pressure because we wanted to beat Staples."
Searight and Boyd didn't waste time finishing the first set but were locked in a dogfight in the second set. Stamm held serve and hit a ground stroke for a winner to give the Lady Wreckers a 2-1 lead in the second set.
However, Searight and Boyd hit winners as well and served well in winning four straight games to take a commanding 5-2 lead.
Collins and Stamm came back to make it 5-4 but Boyd held serve in the final game and closed it out by slamming a winner on a ground stroke off a long rally to clinch the match, 6-3, 6-4.
"Tennis is an individual sport and even though we lost as a team, we still tried our hardest," Searight said. "Kendall is a good player and had the momentum before the match was suspended. We'll never know [if she would have won if the match was completed three weeks ago]."
Boyd said, "They [Quinn and Levenson] are both good players. Hopefully, we'll play them [Staples] again in the postseason."
Before the match was suspended, the Lady Wreckers won at first, second and third singles while Ludlowe won at first and second doubles.
Freshman Melissa Beretta made a successful varsity debut at second singles for the Lady Wreckers in a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Daria Effimov.
Staples senior tri-captain Molly Rudinger was dominant in a 6-1, 6-1 victory over junior Morgan Hilliker at third singles.