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Tuesday, December 18 Sports

Girls tennis: Greenwich sweeps Ludlowe

GREENWICH — The temperature was in the mid- to upper-30s throughout Monday’s girls high school tennis match between Greenwich and Fairfield Ludlowe, but it certainly didn’t affect the quality of play from these FCIAC rivals.

Most of the points in the match were well contested and just as last season, the Cardinals had the advantage.

Displaying its depth, Greenwich improved to 2-0 on the young season, defeating visiting Ludlowe in a late-morning matchup 7-0.

“I am feeling good about how we are playing,” said GHS coach Betsy Underhill, who, like all coaches, has already has a match postponed and has cancelled some practices due to inclement weather. “We had to grind out some tough matches today.”

The Cardinals and Falcons met three times last season, with Greenwich going 3-0, including victories of 6-1 and 5-2 in the FCIAC and Class L tournaments, respectively.

“Last year we didn’t do this well against this team,” said Greenwich junior Martine Fierro, who plays at No. 1 singles. “I think it shows we are going to do great this year.”

Said Ludlowe coach John Reisert: “I take a lot of positives from this match. We have nine new players and only one player repeating from last year, so they gained a lot of experience by going up against a great Greenwich team today.”

Fierro, who is in her first season at No. 1 singles, posted a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ludlowe senior Samantha Keane. Leading 3-2 in the opening set, Fierro held serve, then broke, to take a 5-2 advantage. An ace by Fierro in the ensuing game capped the first set.

In the second set, Fierro took the last four games and the match.

“She (Keane) was really good, she had a really strong serve and she had some nice shots. It was a good match,” Fierro said. “My head sometimes stops me from playing well, so I just tried to keep my head straight and I felt confident that I could come back if I lost it for a little bit.”

Senior co-captain Melanie Murphy and sophomore Amy Bickham gave Greenwich a 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 2 doubles, beating juniors Grace Cogasn and Heather Moran. This marks the first season Murphy and Bickham are teaming up.

“We were just trying to get a feel for each other in the first set,” Murphy said. “We came out strong, which was good, because it set the pace for everything. Toward the end, we started getting a little nervous and they won a few games, but we pulled it out. Just from the last match and this match, we are getting so much more comfortable with each other.”

The longest match came at third singles, with GHS junior Christina Gianesello and Falcons freshman McKenna Carroll playing a marathon, 2-hour, 15-minute match. Gianesello prevailed, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

“This was good practice for me since this was my first time playing three,” said Gianesello, a doubles player a year ago. “She hit some powerful shots, so I had to stay in there the entire time. It was a battle.”

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Said Underhill: “Christina can grind out a match and she is going to win these type of matches, because she stays calm and has a great attitude.”

At first doubles, senior Hannah Crasto and sophomore Kendall Schrohe of Greenwich edged sophomore Kaitlyn Yoon and junior Heather Moran, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. Crasto and Schrohe competed at second doubles last spring.

“We played with each other last year, which helps a lot because we know each other’s game,” Schrohe said. “If one of us isn’t playing well, we know how to help each other.”

Yoon and Moran held serve, then broke, to take the first set.

“We had a lot of nerves in the first set, that’s why it was hard to pull out the first set,” Crasto said. “The second set, we got a lot more consistent.”

Second singles saw sophomore Melanie Leguizamon post a 6-2, 6-2 win against junior Xenia Efimov.

“It’s cold out, but the weather wasn’t as bad as when we played last week when it was really windy,” Leguizamon said. “As the match went along I began hitting more winners and was getting into it. It was a back-and-forth match.”

Sophomore Yuri Inagawa was victorious at fourth singles, beating junior Katie Coolidge, 6-4, 6-2 and the Cardinals’ duo of freshman Abby Shropshire and junior Catherine Daye (No. 3) won their match, 6-2, 6-1.

dfierro@greenwichtime.com; 203-625-4423

GREENWICH 7, LUDLOWE 0

At Greenwich. Singles: Martine Fierro (G) def. Samantha Keane 6-2, 6-2; Melanie Leguizamon (G) def. Xenia Efimov 6-2, 6-2; Christina Gianesello (G) def. McKenna Carroll 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Yuri Inagawa (G) def. Katie Coolidge 6-4, 6-2; doubles: Hannah Crasto/Kendall Schrohe (G) def. Kaitlyn Yoon/Emily Cheung 4-6, 6-2, 6-1; Melanie Murphy/Amy Bickham (G) def. Grace Cogan/Heather Moran 6-4, 6-1; Amy Shropshire/Catherine Daye (G) def. Caitlin Chen/Kate Alaniello 6-2, 6-1. Records: Greenwich 2-0; Ludlowe 1-1.

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