ROCKY HILL — It was a dominating performance from start to finish for the top-seeded Staples boys tennis team in the Class LL state tournament.
Staples shut out all four opponents, including No. 14 seed Westhill in Thursday’s championship final at The Tennis & Fitness Center of Rocky Hill. to claim its fifth consecutive state title.
“Every year, I tell the guys, ‘It’s a new chapter to the book. Create your own history and create your own experience.’ That’s what makes each year special,” Staples coach Kris Hrisovoulos said.
This was Hrisovulos’ seventh state championship in 11 seasons as head coach. It was the 23rd state title overall for the impressive Wreckers’ program.
“It’s good to be back and to have this opportunity. It’s a good way to end the season,” Hrisovoulos said.
Hrisovulos called the loss to Darien in the FCIAC tournament final “a gut-check” for the Wreckers. All four of Staples’ opponents in Class LL hailed from the FCIAC: Trumbull, Greenwich, Ridgefield and Westhill.
“The FCIAC is very challenging. It gets you ready for these kind of moments. The competition is always tough top to bottom,” Hrisovulos said.
Darien won the Class L title on Thursday over yet another FCIAC team, Wilton.
Staples followed up the Wreckers’ girls tennis team also winning a state championship at the same site, defeating Amity 4-3.
The decision was made in January to switch to a team format to determine the four boys state champions rather than its jamboree-style format where players are seeded in each division for both singles and doubles. Those matches helped earn points to determine the team champions.
This was done to prevent having hundreds of people gathering in one place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan is to return to the jamboree style for next season.
This was Westhill’s first appearance in a state final.
“We were underdogs right? We played this team already (a 6-1 Staples win), we were excited to play them (again). My kids are very competitive,” Westhill coach Arthur Berthlaux said.
Stars of the match
Take your pick: Staples’ four singles players, Tighe Brunetti, Robbie Daus, Brandon Felcher and Lucas Haymes, dropped just five games in the final.
“I’m very proud of the team. I am excited for next year.”
Westhill boys tennis coach Arthur Berthlaux
Class LL final
Staples 7, Westhill 0
(at Rocky Hill). Singles: Tighe Brunetti (S) def. Arjun Anand (WH) 6-0, 6-1; Robbie Daus (S) def. Vishal Nayak (WH) 6-0, 6-2; Brandon Felcher (S) def. Arjun Batra (WH) 6-1, 6-0; Lucas Haymes (S) def. Rohan Sahu (WH) 6-1, 6-0. Doubles: Bradley Sheppard / Luke Brodsky (S) def. Justin Bilenker / Gregory Lebedev (WH) 6-0, 6-4; Alex Miller / Jake Motyl (S) def. Rohit Jha / Gavorov Bonsal (WH) 9-8; Matthew Chiang / Josh Suggs (S) def. Aryan Donikenna / Jason Busch (WH) 8-3.
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