The first sunny and warm day of the otherwise cold and wet tennis season for the Fairfield boys was a little brighter for the visitors from Fairfield Warde on Monday.

The Mustangs came away with a 7-0 win at Fairfield Ludlowe to claim town bragging rights and, in the process, get over the .500 mark. Three singles players pulled out three-set wins to make the score a little more lopsided than it might otherwise have been against the competitive cross-town foes. Warde improved to 4-3 overall, and Ludlowe fell to 2-4.

A pair of Warde freshmen, as it turned out, had the easiest time in singles player. Warde first-year high-schooler and No. 1 singles player Ted Berkowitz earned a 6-3, 6-3 win over senior Reid Andren, and fellow freshman and No. 3 player Eyad Nagori bested his freshman counterpart, Alex Barker, 6-3, 6-1.

Nagori said his focus, strong forehand and improvement on his backhand return were keys to his win.

The other three singles slots featured fairly even play, with two Mustangs prevailing despite first set losses. No. 2 senior Josh Burger defeated sophomore Dan Adajian 3-6, 7-5, 6-4; No. 4 senior David O'Hara knocked off junior James Reiss 4-6, 6-3, 7-6. In a battle of seniors at No. 5, Jake Blumenfeld prevailed past Peter Wyckoff 6-3, 6-7, 6-1.

In doubles play, juniors Adam Werner and Kevin Sullivan defeated freshman Charlie Kottler and sophomore Robbie Karson 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1.

"I thought it was going to be a little tense. I didn't know what to expect from these guys," said Werner, adding that the net play and serving game were keys to the win in this match.

"Everyone knows everybody on the other team so it does get a little intense," Sullivan added. "We won a lot of big rallies and put away a lot at the net."

Karson said that while there are bragging rights on the line, Warde is just another high school and that's the way the players had to approach the match. Karson added that he would like to work on calming his nerves as the season unfolds.

"The intensity's a lot higher, obviously, just because it's Warde," Kottler added. "We got down on ourselves and never got settled in the match."

At. No. 2 doubles, sophomore Devin Pulton and junior Peter Simonds defeated sophomores Mike O'Neill and Mac Casey 6-3, 6-1. Pulton watched the action as he waited for a court to open up for his match, and said it was nice to see how opposing players he grew up training with have improved.

Ludlowe Coach John Honey, who first started coaching tennis at the old Andrew Warde High School in 1972, said the all-Fairfield matchup is always a tense one.

"It brings up a little tension. You don't want to be the loser," said Honey, who has been on both sides of the town bragging rights many times throughout the years.

"They come in with extra excitement -- they know everybody, they train with each other, they're really good friends," Warde Coach Shelley Viskinski said of the friendly rivalry.

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