Cold temperatures, breezy conditions and occasional rain droplets -- not to mention a tough crosstown rival -- weren't enough to cool off the red-hot Fairfield Ludlowe girls tennis team in an FCIAC match on Tuesday afternoon.
The host Falcons earned a 5-2 victory over the Fairfield Warde Mustangs to improve to 9-0 this spring. Warde fell to 6-3.
The Falcons swept through singles competition as top player Lindsey Evans defeated Emily Simonds 6-0, 6-0; No. 2 player Cami Adajian beat Jenny Schneider 6-0, 6-1; Daria Efimov topped Mackenzie Burns 6-3, 6-1 at third singles; and Kyra Adajian defeated Emily Schmerzler 6-0, 6-0 at No. 4 singles.
"Playing Warde's always fun and competitive. There's always that attitude of `We want to beat them because they're our crosstown rivals,' " Evans said.
Warde earned a couple of wins in doubles play as the top tandem of Megan Hines and Erin Hines prevailed over Chelsea Keane and Lauren Hilliker 6-2, 6-2 and the Mustangs' No. 2 tandem of Mary Ball and Ashley Aufiero defeated Sarah Jennings and Ana Wyckoff, rallying from a first-set loss to come out on top 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Ludlowe's third doubles pair of Lexi Brown and Julia Cheung beat Liz Gallucci and Hannah Greenhall 7-5, 6-3.
"It's good to get the win," said Megan Hines, adding that the Falcons are a tough team across the board.
"It was a tough match all around," Erin Hines said.
Ludlowe coach John Reisert motivated his players before the match by reminding them that they had played in more windy conditions against Trumbull, and in colder weather during tryouts last month.
"We've faced far worse on different days," said Reisert, acknowledging that these were in fact the toughest conditions, given the occasional light rain coupled with the wind and temperatures in the 40s.
"They tried to just put the conditions aside and focus on the game at hand," Reisert said.
The players on both sides did a good job of that.
"It's tough on both sides -- the kids understand that," said Warde coach Marilyn Jamgochian, adding she was pleased with her team's effort against a formidable foe. Ludlowe is the defending conference champions. "I'm really pleased with the way they're playing. They all have really great attitudes."
Reisert is also happy with how his team has done.
"As a team, we're playing very good tennis -- top to bottom," Reisert said.
The junior varsity and varsity girls and boys from both Fairfield public high schools may have played against each other on Tuesday, but they worked together off the courts. They sold tickets to fans for the designated Coaches vs Cancer match to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Andy Hutchison is a freelance reporter