Girls tennis: Warriors show toughness in notching key wins
The Wilton High girls tennis team bounced back from last Wednesday’s loss to Darien with key 6-1 wins over Ridgefield last Thursday and Fairfield Warde on Friday.
The Warriors, who improved their season record to 7-3 (7-2 in the FCIAC) with 7-0 win over Bridgeport Central on Monday, will look to keep their momentum going today when they host Trumbull.
For head coach Ben Alexander, it was the mental toughness the Warriors showed last week that impressed him the most.
“We showed a lot of heart. There were six three-set matches over the two days and we won five out of six of them. We battled for every point. We didn’t give up and we believed in ourselves,” he said. “I was really impressed with their level of play and their effort level.”
In the 6-1 win over Ridgefield, Wilton got straight-set wins in singles from Natalie Ivanov, Isabella Koziol and Jelena Sypher, while Cara Kilmartin outlasted Ridgefield’s Morgan Held in three sets at third singles.
Hannah Jung and Kira Essig won in straight sets at second doubles, while Alix Wadehra and Meghan Golden took their third-doubles match in three sets.
The only loss was at first doubles, where Amber Li and Arden Lee dropped a three-set decision to Ridgefield’s Hillary Sherpa and Jill Keefe.
Alexander said that Ivanov won in straight sets at first singles despite playing with a sprained ankle the second half of the match.
The next day, the Warriors completed an earlier match against Warde that was curtailed by rain. Fortunately, Ivanov had already won at first singles before the previous match had been postponed.
Wilton again swept the singles matches, with Ivanov, Koziol and Kilmartin winning in straight sets. The highlight of the day was provided by Sypher, who gutted out a tough three-set win over Sana Nagori, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5. Sypher was trailing 5-2 in the third set before rallying to win the final five points.
Alexander said all the Wilton JV and varsity players cheered Sypher on to the win.
“They gave her the confidence she needed to come through,” he said. “I’ve never seen her play better. It was an amazing comeback.”
At second doubles, Essig and Jung held off Claire Regan and Lily Cherniski in three sets, while Lee and Golden rallied for a three-set win over Deb Warren and Amelia Yoder, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.
Ridgefield dropped to 4-3 with the loss, while Warde dropped to 4-4.
With the wins, Wilton kept itself in the thick of the FCIAC playoff race, with only two FCIAC losses.
“We’re looking really good,” said coach Alexander. “I think we’re getting better and better. I think it’s going to be a really strong second half of the season.”
Results for the two wins were:
Wilton 6, Ridgefield 1
Natalie Ivanov (W) def. Aurora Joblon, 6-3, 6-0;
Isabella Koziol (W) def. Anabel Cordano, 6-2, 6-0;
Cara Kilmartin (W) def. Morgan Held, 6-1, 1-6, 6-0;
Jelena Sypher (W) def. Micaela O’Malley, 6-0, 6-1;
Hillary Sherpa-Jill Keefe (R) def. Amber Li-Arden Lee, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6;
Kira Essig-Hannah Jung (W) def. Carmen Sanz-Caitlin Kissell, 6-2, 6-1;
Alix Wadehra-Meghan Golden (W) def. Jenn Gordon-Julia Driscoll, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
Wilton 6, Warde 1
Natalie Ivanov (W) def. Natalia Zhiltsova, 6-1, 6-4;
Isabella Koziol (W) def. Morgan Lee, 6-2, 6-0;
Jelena Sypher (W) def. Sana Nagori, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5;
Cara Kilmartin (W) def. Karli Vare, 6-2, 6-1;
Amber Li-Rachel Low (W) forfeited to Abbie Burns-Leg Christenson;
Kira Essig-Hannah Jung (W) def. Claire Regan-Lily Cherniski, 6-1, 5-7, 6-3;
Arden Lee-Meghan Golden (W) def. Deb Warren-Amelia Yoder, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.