New Canaan girls make a racket in tennis win over Wave
Written by Dave Stewart
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 12:00
Jensen Lee had the weight of her team on her shoulders as her No. 3 singles match with Darien’s Pia Teschner turned the corner into a decisive third set Monday at the New Canaan High School courts.
The Rams led the match 3-2, but with No. 3 doubles down a set, all eyes had turned to No. 2 singles and what was promising to be a dramatic finish. All Lee needed was a little momentum, something she seemed to find from her teammates.
“Once you get that momentum and you’ve got your team behind you, it’s a great feeling,” Lee said. “You know the team’s going to be there for you to support you and that helps with them pumping you up. “You’re like ‘if I lose I’m fine, they’re still going to love me.’
“But winning it for the team is so much better than losing it,” she added with a smile.
Trailing 3-1 in the third set Lee held serve and then gradually picked up steam, rolling to five straight wins to take the final set 6-3, clinching a 4-3 match victory for New Canaan.
The final scores of Lee’s win were 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, in a battle royal for the winning point
“That was one of those matches were someone had to step up and win it because they were both playing very well,” head coach Erin Gildea said. “Pia has one of the biggest forehands I’ve seen and it’s a huge weapon, so that’s always nerve-wracking. I told Jensen at the beginning of the third set that it looks like it’s going to come down to your match. She’s a fighter and I know she’ll leave everything she has on the court.”
The victory over the rival Blue Wave was a big one for the Rams, who fell to Greenwich 5-2 in their previous match last Thursday. That loss ended a 55-match winning streak for New Canaan, which went out and started a new streak against Darien.
New Canaan is now 5-1 this season, while Darien suffered its first loss and is 6-1.
“I thought we played really well,” senior co-captain Phoebe Wilks said. “Our recent match with Greenwich and this are both really important matches for us because they are such close rivals. In playing them, we can see ourselves reflected and we can learn a lot about our team.”
“They’re definitely a young team with a lot of freshmen and great new players,” senior co-captain Courtney Gallagher said. “So they took us by surprise. It gives us something to work for in the future. It’s something we’ll have in the back of our minds — Darien is an upcoming team.”
The Rams won their first three points on Monday in relatively easy fashion, as the top two doubles matches and the No. 1 singles contest were over fairly quickly.
Darien took the third and fourth singles matches, with Erica Gill defeating Kate Howard 6-4, 6-2, and Claire Kelley defeating Emily Brand 7-6 (1), 6-2.
That left Lee’s match with Teschner, as well as No. 3 doubles on the courts with the win on the line.
The players for both teams were gathered at the fence watching the final set at No. 2 singles, as Lee turned it up a notch to get the win.
“She had a great match,” Wilks said. “She was playing very well and even the second set which she lost, was very close. She just really killing it at the end. They had some great points and she was just sticking it through which was awesome.”
“It was definitely nerve-wracking watching that match and I think she knew she was the last point, so she was a little nervous,” Gallagher said. “But Jensen played great so we’re really lucky that she was able to get the win.”
Lee said she started to step forward when she held serve with the score tied at 3-3.
“After that, I really picked it up and I was thinking ‘I’ve got this. My momentum is back and I’m going to win this for the team’,” she said.
She began hitting her shots with more authority as the third set went on, and picked apart Teschner to get the win.
“Overall, I didn’t play my best tennis,” Lee said. “I played really well in the first set, but in the second set I kind of just went away. I lost momentum, but in the third set I brought it back and it was great to pull out that win.”
New Canaan 4, Darien 3
Courtney Gallagher (NC) def. Jenna Murray 6-3, 6-1
Jensen Lee (NC) def. Pia Teschner 6-4, 4-6, 6-3