Serving Glory: Darien Boys Tennis Looks to Continue Program’s Storied Pedigree


Darien Athletic Foundation

Darien Boys Tennis Senior Aidan White serving the ball in a match against Staples in 2022.

Braden Schenck, Writer

As the snow and leafs start to disappear, the lines on the DHS tennis courts begin to appear. It is once again time for the DHS Varsity Boys Tennis team to go to battle. Darien enters 2023 as the three-time defending Class L state champions. However, 2023 will be a different story, for starters the Wave saw the promotion to the Class LL division this offseason for the first time in program history. The boys in blue are ready for the new task come playoff season. 

A 2023 Darien team that features some of the best talent in the conference and in the Nutmeg State. At singles one the Franklin and Marshall commit Sam Donnelly will hold down fort only losing a sole match last year. Joining Sam on the singles lines will be the Holy Cross bound tennis player Teddy Callery and the Denison commit Kyle Patrick returning to the roster. This is the first time in a while that Darien features a college commit on the roster, yet alone three! 

This senior heavy team is bound for greatness under 2nd-year head coach John DeFilippo. “John is a great coach, he has so much knowledge and insight to the game of tennis” said Darien’s doubles one player and all-FCIAC first teamer Will Donnelly. Donnelly, the younger brother of Sam is no stranger to the big time moments. Losing his doubles partner Anders Hanson to graduation, Will has a lot to prove and will look for Coach DeFilippo to pair him up with a new doubles partner.

Darien senior captain Sam Donnelly returning a serve in a 2022 match against the Staples Wreckers. (Darien Athletic Foundation)

“We only lost two players to graduation which means a majority of our team is coming back this season so we have shown we have the weapons to make a run for an FCIAC and state title” stated Darien senior captain Sam Donnelly. The Wave turned in an impressive 14-1 regular season record last year but looks to avenge an FCIAC loss to Westhill in the conference semifinals. “That loss stung, we want revenge on Westhill but more importantly we want another FCIAC trophy before the seniors graduate” said Donnelly. Darien won the FCIAC all the way back in 2021 but hasn’t since.

2023 is truly the go time for Darien, with the strongest roster not only in the state of Connecticut but potentially in Darien Tennis’s history. Three great players, committed to three great college tennis programs lead the way with help from the underclassman adding depth.

“We have some talented freshmen coming into the program this year, they will look to make their impact known early on” stated Darien senior captain Teddy Callery. Callery was another member of the all-FCIAC first team a year ago.

Darien senior captain Teddy Callery hitting the ball at the DHS Tennis Courts. (Darien Athletic Foundation)

Darien will feature seven strong lines in battle during the 2023 campaign as they open against Norwalk on April 10th. Darien is looking to keep the recent pedigree of the program and build for the future years. 

Darien first has to navigate through some key games on the schedule. These include a trip to Westhill on 4/11 for the highly anticipated rematch, traveling to Staples on 4/25. Following up at Greenwich on the 25th. And you can’t forget about the rivalry being renewed when Darien and New Canaan meet on the DHS Tennis Courts on Tuesday May 2nd for an epic match.

The FCIAC saw the departure of many big time players to graduation last year, the class of 2022 was one of the strongest in FCIAC history. However, luckily for Darien, with only two players lost to graduation the Wave will look to capitalize this as they chase FCIAC and CIAC glory this season. It is go time for the 2023 Darien Blue Wave Boys Tennis team and it will be no shocker when Darien finds themselves back at Wesleyan in late June.

Doubles one player Will Donnelly setting up before a point in a 2022 match with Staples. (Darien Athletic Foundation)