What was very much familiar territory a couple of seasons ago was now in a way new ground for the Weston High girls tennis team when it reached the finals of the state Class S tournament.
The Trojans, who had won five straight championships from 2007-11 before exiting the tournament in the quarterfinals last year, were back playing for the title on Friday, May 31. Yet with five freshmen in their starting lineup it was a new experience for much of the team.
Seeded 12th, Weston may have seemed like a long shot. It still put up a fight before ultimately losing 4-3 to undefeated, second-seeded Stonington at the Yale tennis courts in West Haven.
“We weren’t necessarily expecting to get here,” said Weston senior and captain Kimmy Guerin. “We’re happy to have even gotten to this point.
Weston had to pull off three upset victories along the way to make it, including one over undefeated, top-ranked Northwest Catholic of West Hartford a day earlier. It relied on its strength at singles, winning al of these contests en route to a 5-2 win.
The Trojans also had one sweep, coming at first singles. Guerin, who will play for Wake Forest University next year, shut out Anna Case 6-0, 6-0. It was her third straight shutout of the tournament.
Sarah Greisman was in the No. 2 spot and also won in straight sets with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Angela Miguel.
Andi Rosenblatt was at third singles. After getting through the first set without much difficulty she had a close second before holding on for a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker) win over Charlotte Carew.
Completing the singles weep, Kristen Rivera defeated Mary Kate Rogers 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 4 spot.
Weston’s lone doubles win came from McKenzie Murray and Eugenie Portner, who outlasted Magda Lenczewski and Gigi Giannone 7-6, 4-6 after a 10-point tiebreaker.
Northwest Catholic took the remaining contests, including a three-setter at second doubles. Rachel Porter and Grace Deneen defeated Bari Blitzer and Abbey Roth 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
At third doubles, Diana Ciao and Amy Ciao defeated Sarah Finkel and Lindsey Kapel 6-2, 6-1.
Friday’s title match marked the sixth time in seven seasons Weston and Stonington had faced each other in the finals. For Stonington, the victory ended a run of seven straight losses going back to 2006 and was the first state title for coach George Crouse, who has coached high school tennis for 40 years and has led the team since 1987.
“They competed really well on every court,” said Mary Ann Noyer, who was making her first appearance in the finals as Weston’s head coach. “They outplayed us.”
While the match did feature some close contests Weston still dominated first singles. Guerin remained undefeated with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Annika Burgess.
Weston would split the singles matches. Chloe Slater defeated Greisman by a 6-1 score in the first set and held on for a 7-5 decision in the next.
Rosenblatt had two close sets but defeated Caroline Kam 7-5, 6-4. At fourth singles, Molly Kam posted 6-2, 6-3 scored over Rivera. With two of the doubles matches completed at this point it gave Stonington the fourth win and guaranteed it the title.
The Trojans’ doubles win came in the top spot. Murray and Portner held off Hannah Fabianski and Emily Baxton 7-6 in the first set but lost the second before winning a 10-8 tiebreaker.
Stonington dominated second doubles with Meg Rolfe and Emily Gardiner sweeping Blitzer and Roth 6-0, 6-0. It also took third doubles with Taylor Startz and Gina Feliciano posting 6-2, 6-1 scores over Finkel and Kapel.
Weston finishes the season at 14-6 overall.
“I’m really happy we got to the finals,” said Noyer. “We gave it our all.”
The season will continue for Guerin, who will try for her fourth straight singles title at the State Open this week.