FAIRFIELD -- In FCIAC girls tennis, Darien and Fairfield Ludlowe are almost mirror images of each other. For starters, they both wear the same colors. They were both 8-1 coming into Tuesday's match-up, and they are both young teams that had to deal with key departures from last year; Darien lost six starters and Ludlowe lost seven.
But that is where the similarities end.
On their home courts on Tuesday afternoon, the Falcons were able to quell the Blue Wave, 5-2, with poise and consistent play.
"We knew Ludlowe was going to be tough," Darien coach Davin Gebauer said. "We just have to cut down on our errors and play with a little bit more intensity."
Ludlowe was especially dominant in singles play, handily winning the first, second, and third singles matches.
Blue Wave freshman Clair Kelley, playing in the No. 4 singles slot, registered the only singles win for Darien. She beat Ludlowe junior Erica Elmslie 6-1, 6-3.
In the first singles match, Ludlowe freshman Lindsey Evans faced Darien junior Jenna Murray. The first set was nip and tuck as the two battled fiercely, finishing in a 7-6 win for Evans, who notched three aces. In the second set, though, Evans stepped on the gas and cruised to a 6-1 victory to win the match.
"I just lost my focus in the second set and started making a lot more mistakes," Murray said. "I double faulted too many times, and [Evans] also started playing better. I definitely need to work on being more consistent."
The second and third singles matches had a similar outcome. Darien freshman Pia Teschner fell to Ludlowe sophomore Daria Efimov at No. 2 singles 6-1, 6-2. In the No. 3 singles match, a battle of freshmen, Ludlowe's Cami Adajian got past Darien's Erica Gill, 6-3, 6-2.
"That was one of the best matches she played all year," Ludlowe coach John Reisert said of Efimov.
The doubles matches were decidedly closer, as two of the three matches stretched to three sets.
"In doubles, Darien was probably the best opponent we've played so far," Falcons captain Morgan Hilliker said.
The Falcons came out on top in the second doubles match 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and in the third doubles match 6-4, 6-3.
"This was one of the key matches of the season, and Darien was a formidable foe today. Darien doubles was strong right through," Reisert said. "We knew that some matchups were going to be real tight, but now we're in midseason form, and I am really proud of how the girls stepped up."
Blue Wave captain Abby Becker kept it positive as she looked ahead.
"We've been growing from day one, and these matches were close. We hope to see these teams again in FCIAC's or even the States and get them back," Becker said. "Today was a little setback, but we learn to build from our mistakes."
Fairfield ludlowe 5, darien 2
Singles: Lindsey Evans (FL) def. Jenna Murray, 7-6, 6-1; Daria Efimov (FL) def. Pia Teschner, 6-1, 6-2; Cami Adajian (FL) def. Erica Gill, 6-3, 6-2; Clair Kelley (D) def. Erica Elmslie 6-1, 6-3. Doubles: Caroline McGuire/Libby Feingold (D) def. Paige McCormick/Liz Waldvogel, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2; Morgan Hillicker/Ellen Kovaleski (FL) def. Catherine Hatfield/Sarah Alptekin; Colleen Fitzpatrick/Molly Boyd (FL) def. Abby Becker/Katherine Herz
Records: Fairfield Ludlowe 5, Darien 2.