NEW CANAAN -- There were many competitive matches and several momentum changes at New Canaan High School Monday, but in the end it was the New Canaan girls tennis team defending its home court with a 4-3 win over Darien.
With her team enjoying an overall 3-2 lead, it was New Canaan's No. 2 singles player Jensen Lee who sealed the victory by defeating Darien's Pia Teschner in what was the most competitive match of the day and the only one to require a third set.
"During the match it was really nerve-wracking because I knew if I lost, we lost," Lee said. "My team was here pumping me up in the third set so it really helped and winning it for them was a great feeling. I think winning today against a great team is really good for us."
New Canaan jumped out to an early 2-0 lead when top singles player Courtney Gallagher defeated Darien's Jenna Murray 6-3, 6-1 and the Rams' top doubles tandem of Kristin Laub and Sara Greene picked up a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Darien's Elizabeth Feingold and Caroline McGuire.
"It was definitely a great match. Losing against Greenwich was heartbreaking so this was important," Gallagher said. "I think as the season goes on we're just going to improve and play better. We have a bunch of new doubles teams and pairing so as the season goes on their going to find their niche."
Facing a 3-0 hole, Darien's (6-1) only shot at victory was winning the four remaining matches, and two of its singles players did their part.
At No. 3 singles, Darien's Erika Gill won a tightly contested contest against Kate Howard by a 6-4, 6-2 margin to put the Blue Wave on the board. Just a few minutes later, Darien closed its deficit to 3-2 when No. 4 r Claire Kelley won a competitive 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 match over New Canaan's Emily Brand.
"It felt really good. There were a lot of long points and I had to stay really focused. I think we both played really well," Gill said. "It's kind of sad that we lost today, but I think we'll be able to keep doing really well. We have a really good team this year."
Darien bounced back with a 7-0 win against Stamford on Tuesday. The Blue Wave played Trinity Catholic on Thursday, but the result was not available at press time.
NEW CANAAN 4, DARIEN 3
at New Canaan
Singles: Courtney Gallagher (NC) def. Jenn Murray 6-3, 6-1; Jensen Lee (NC) def. Pia Teschner 6-4, 1-6, 6-3; Erika Gill (D) def. Kate Howard 6-4, 6-2, Claire Kelley (D) def. Emily Brand. Doubles: Kristin Laub/Sara Greene (NC) def. Elizabeth Feingold/Caroline McGuire 6-0, 6-0; Amanda Merjian/Phoebe Wilks def. Sarah Alptekin/Catherine Hatfield 6-2, 6-2; Kathryn Herz/Abby Becker 6-2, 4-1. Records: New Canaan 5-1, Darien 6-1.