Girls tennis: Dramatic win over Greenwich highlights first week

With a young team and new starters throughout the lineup, the Wilton High girls tennis team was out to prove that Wilton was as strong as ever when the season opened this past week.

The Warriors accomplished just that on Monday afternoon at home, in a dramatic 4-3 win over Greenwich that raised their record to 3-0.

“We knew this year we had a lot of rebuilding to do,” said coach Mike Racanelli. “We knew Greenwich was going to be a tough match, and we just came together and got it done, and I’m very proud of the team.”

It was Wilton’s third straight win over the Cardinals in the last two seasons, after going nearly 20 years without beating Greenwich.

Monday’s match was a classic, as the outcome came down to the first doubles match with score tied 3-3. Wilton had gotten wins at second doubles from senior Leigh Culnane and sophomore Cara Kilmartin; at third doubles from juniors Rachel Low and Isabella Jones; and at fourth singles from junior Kinsey Watson.

At first doubles, Greenwich won the first set in a tiebreaker, and the Wilton team of senior Taylor Ingerman and freshman Meghan Golden took the second set.

As the third set went along, the crowd began to grow and cheer on every point.

“It was really exciting. The boy teams showed up because they had a match right after. They cheered the girls on, and all the parents were there,” said Racanelli. “The sideline was going crazy after every point. Every point was contested.”

Wilton at one point was down 5-4, but rallied to win the final three games to win the set, 7-5, and the match, 2-1 — clinching the Warrriors’ 4-3 victory.

Racanelli was impressed with how Golden, a freshmen, handled the pressure in the spotlight, with the match on the line.

“She stepped up and played great,” he said. “She went into the match as a true freshman. By the time the match finished, she was probably a junior, with the experience she gained in that match.”

Playing alongside Ingerman, the team’s captain and a two-time state finalist at doubles, with one state title, certainly was key.

“Taylor played big sister role and really helped Meghan along and helped her relax and do the things she needed to do, point by point,” said the coach.

Notes: Wilton opened the season with a 7-0 win over Bridgeport Central last Friday. The Warriors got wins in the singles competition from Jones, Kilmartin, freshman Amber Li and junior Kira Essig.

Ingerman and Culnane won at first doubles, while senior Katharine Robertson and junior Hannah Jung won at second doubles. At third doubles, Wilton got a win from the team of Golden and Watson.

Wilton also scored a 5-2 win over Weston on Friday. Wins came at third singles (Robertson) and fourth singles (Watson), and from the doubles teams of Ingerman and Li, Culnane and Essig, and Kilmartin and Low.