There was anticipation in the air as dozens of people crammed around glass windows, peering in on the action at Kings Highway Tennis Club. A battle of the last two unbeaten girls tennis teams in the state between New Canaan and Greenwich was expected to come down to the wire.
Instead, the Rams dominated the regular season finale between the two rivals, which have met in the FCIAC finals for the past five years. New Canaan swept all three doubles matches, and Courtney Gallagher held off a furious comeback by Greenwich's Samantha Stone in the second set to clinch the 5-1 victory and an undefeated regular season for the Rams.
"New Canaan has always been right there with us so we were really hyped up for this one," Stone said. "We all really had to fight and they just get stronger. I'd love to have a second chance against them."
Gallagher's showdown with Stone was the most-watched match of the afternoon. Gallagher handled Stone in the first set, 6-2, and looked to be on her way to an easy sweep when she leapt out to a 5-2 lead. Stone held her off on the matchpoint, clawing her way back to a 6-5 lead. Gallagher would not be denied as she shut out Stone in the 12th game, setting up a tiebreaker. Gallagher tore through Stone and took the tiebreaker, 7-1.
Teammates, coaches, and parents provided all the appropriate "ooh's" and "aah's" as the match progressed. It was a strange scene with the match relocated indoors, neither player could hear the crowd reaction.
By the time Gallagher had finished her battle with Stone, the doubles matches were well in hand. Kimmy Glerum and Sara Greene defeated Michelle Vogt and Anna Sweeney in the No. 1 doubles match, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Amanda Merjian and Kristen Laub swept their doubles match, 6-1, 6-3, over Katey Hopper and Lauren Deccache.
Greenwich got a measure of revenge in the No. 1 singles match though, as Jenn Deluca handled New Canaan's star player Kate Mannelly, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.
Greenwich (15-1) will be seeded second in the FCIAC tournament, which begins Friday. It will host either Wilton or Fairfield Ludlowe that day at 4 p.m.
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