WILTON -- Darien had already prevented Fairfield Ludlowe from seeking the trifecta of loftiest achievements in girls tennis this season. The Blue Wave's victory over the Falcons in the regular season ended Ludlowe's bid for an undefeated season, giving Darien, and not Ludlowe, the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. Darien, which was in a different bracket before being upset by Greenwich, was not in the way when the Falcons won their second straight FCIAC championship late last month.
The Blue Wave was Ludlowe's last obstacle on Friday afternoon in the CIAC Class L finals on Wilton High School's courts. The Falcons sought to go the next step after finishing as runners-up to New Canaan in last year's L championship match. Darien put up a good fight, after winning the first two matches Friday, but lost the next four as Ludlowe earned its second state title in school history with a 4-3 victory over the Blue Wave.
Top-seeded Ludlowe swept all four singles matches, and No. 3 Darien took each of the three doubles matches. The Falcons, who improved to 24-1, led by 3-2 when senior captain, Daria Efimov, whose undefeated season was disrupted in Wednesday's semifinals, finished off her split-set victory over Darien junior Pia Teschner. Efimov, who swept Teschner in Darien's 4-3 regular-season win over Ludlowe on May 19 in Fairfield, defeated Teschner for the Falcons' championship-clinching win by 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
"I left all my tennis stuff at home," Efimov said. "It was hard to adjust. She was more consistent and more aggressive with her shots, moving me around. She was definitely taking more chances and getting those balls in. In the third set, I just tried to relax, slow myself down and not get too excited and overhit. By the end of the third set, I started to hit more balls in."
Davin Gebauer, the coach of Darien (19-3), said he was expecting a tight match, and said Darien got the regular-season win on "the dribble of the ball going over the net our way," with the Falcons' getting the breaks on Friday. "Their Nos. 3 and 4 singles players could be the No. 1 player on a great number of teams across the state," Gebauer said. "Their singles players are really tough to compete with."
Ludlowe's record in singles this season was 97-3.
Falcons' junior Lindsey Evans (20-1) lost to Darien freshman Kateri Martin (20-2) in straight sets in the regular season. In the finals, she beat Martin, one of her best friends and a doubles partner in national tournaments, by 6-4, 6-4. A different mind set help propel Evans to victory. In their first meeting, she treated Martin as a friend, Evans said. On Friday, she viewed Martin as just another player. "No mercy," is how Evans described her attitude.
Ludlowe coach John Reisert said Evans's advantage over Martin came on experience and intensity. "She was going to do everything in her power to win and not let her teammates down," Reisert said. "Lindsey Evans is as driven and as complete a teammate I've had in my years of coaching."
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Class L girls tennis final at Wilton
Ludlowe 4, Darien 3 (at Wilton High School): Singles: Lindsey Evans (L) def. Kateri Martin 6-4, 6-4; Cami Adajian (L) def. Mia Dursht 7-5, 6-1; Daria Efimov (L) def. Pia Teschner 6-3, 2-6, 6-4; Kyra Adajian (L) def. Madison Bolotin 6-0, 6-0; Doubles: Libby Feingold/Erika Gill (D) def. Chelsea Keane/Lauren Hilliker 6-3, 6-1; Anna Barsanti/Catherine Hatfield (D) def. Sarah Jennings/Ana Wyckoff 6-1, 6-0; Allegra Molkenthin/Susan Alptekin (D) def. Lexi Brown/Julia Cheung 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Records: Darien 19-3, Ludlowe 24-1. Highlights: D--Feingold/Gill improved to 21-1, Barsanti/Hatfield to 20-2; L--Cami Adajian improved to 25-0 on the season.