STAMFORD -- Neither Westhill or Stamford will ever be mistaken for girls tennis powers, especially in the fiercely competitive FCIAC, but one team is showing it can still post a solid record and make steady progress towards becoming one of the league's best.
Westhill only lost eight games during four singles matches, coasting past Stamford 6-1 on Friday afternoon at Stamford High School.
The visitors bounced back from a 6-1 defeat to New Canaan last time out, easily brushing aside their opponents without much resistance to notch their seventh win of the season.
"I was very pleased," Westhill's third-year coach Erica Tobias said. "The girls went out there and did what they came to do. They played fair and I'm proud of them."
The Vikings (7-3) quartet of singles starters Gyeyeon Kang, Hye Kyung Kang, Julie Arditti, and Natalia Luty all rolled to victories. Senior captain Gyeyeon Kang set the tone for the visitors with her smooth play.
"I tried a lot of angle shots to try to move my opponent around," Kang said. "I just stay positive and move my feet, and play consistently."
The Vikings have already surpassed their win total from 2011 (6) and after a couple of seasons of growth it finally appears Tobias' work with this group is beginning to pay off.
"Coach (Tobias) has a great impact on my games," Kang said. "Whenever I have tough opponents she tries to cheer me up and whenever I get frustrated she's always positive. She does a great job of getting me mentally prepared."
The lone bright spot for Stamford (2-9) was the duo of Nicole Labkoff/Kathy Jurado, who defeated Lauren Coritt/Michelle Yang 6-1, 3-6 (12-10), in an extended battle.
Stamford, which was playing without the services of No. 1 Anna Lipkon, struggled to gain any traction and may have put up more of a fight if she was able to take the court.
"I don't think today was reflective of how they normally play or their skills," Stamford coach Jackie Moss-Schell said. "I think Westhill played well and we didn't have a good day. It's tough not having our No. 1."
Because the school is a part of the FCIAC, the Black Knights find it difficult to match volleys with the stronger schools due to a few inherent disadvantages.
"A lot of the competitive teams play year round, which gives them a significant edge," Moss-Schell explains. "And a lot of the other schools have JV teams as well; those two things make it very difficult."
On the other hand, the Vikings are enjoying their best season in recent memory and will look to cap it off with an appearance in the Class L state tournament, and maybe even a spot in the FCIAC tournament as well.
"This year we seem to have a deeper team," Tobias said. "We are much more solid than last year. Overall we are stronger. We try to stay positive, use all of our assets and skills from practice and stay level headed.. Also we try not to get intimidated."
Westhill 6, Stamford 1
Singles: Gyeyeon Kang (W) def. Nikita Roach 6-0, 6-2; Hannah Kang (W) def. Stella Vlahakis 6-1, 6-0; Julie Arditti (W) def. Antonella Fusco 6-1, 6-1; Natalia Luty (W) def Samantha Lyman 6-2, 6-1. Doubles: Rachna Mehta/Caroline Ike (W) def. Maggie Buckley/Gunjan Hooja 6-2, 6-4; Nicole Labkoff/Kathy Jurado (S) def Lauren Coritt/Michelle Yang 6-1, 3-6 (12-10); Jessica Bernstein/Elizabeth Henderickson (W) def Rebecca Ambresh/Marcela Alzate 6-1, 6-0. Records: Westhill 7-3, Stamford 2-9.