Behind Freshman Annabelle Hirscht, Wave Girls Tennis Wins FCIAC Crown



The 2023 FCIAC Girls Tennis Champion Darien High School hoisting the FCIAC plaque

Braden Schenck, Writer

For the tenth time in program history the Darien Varsity Girls Tennis team will celebrate as champions of the FCIAC. The three-peat is complete for Wave Girls Tennis.

Tuesday the team traveled to Wilton High School to take on the 2nd seeded New Canaan Rams in the FCIAC Championship.

Darien earned as the five seed in this years tournament and took a long journey to reach the finals. A 6-1 upset over number four Staples in the quarters, and than a 4-3 thriller win over top seeded Greenwich got Darien to this game.

Darien got on the board when sophomore Lauren Zhang took down Lexi McCall 6-2, 6-1 to win the singles one match for Darien. Zhang the 2nd year singles one player for Darien won the CIAC individual tournament a year ago and has yet to be defeated in her two years at Darien, gave the Wave an early lead.

Junior Sarah Donnelly made quick work of Liza Sieghart 6-4, 6-1, giving Darien a 2-0 lead.

But this was when New Canaan clawed their way back into the match. At singles three, Aaciyaa Sonthonnax took down Emmeline Wang in a thriller 6-4, 7-5. And on doubles one Platt/Zuwiyaa got the best of senior captains Ava deCastro and Grace Althoff 6-0, 6-4. The match was tied at two a piece through four.

New Canaan continued their surge at the doubles two position with the likes of Claire Pellegrino and Camryn Lee taking down Darien seniors Delaney Das and Remy Sufrin. This now gave New Canaan a 3-2 lead and stood just one match away from winning the overall title.

Darien rallied at doubles three behind Scarlett O’Malley and Jessica Schmidt en route to a 7-6, 6-0 victory.

Tied at three a piece now, this meant it all came down to the final deciding match in singles four.

For New Canaan the junior Anika Khurana took the first set 7-5, however Wave freshman Annabelle Hirscht saw some adversity trailing 4-0 in the second set.

As New Canaan stood just two games away from winning the FCIAC Crown the Darien freshman got a few words of wisdom before returning to the court.

And after that fourth game Hirscht found her kryptonite, winning the next twelve games in route to a three set win over Khurana. 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 the final in doubles four.

And for the second year in a row a freshman had clinched the FCIAC championship for the Darien Blue Wave.

Facing adversity after adversity, set back after set back, this team rallied and never gave up fighting to the very last point. That was the story of the 2023 Darien Varsity Girls Tennis Team and they will now celebrate as champions of the FCIAC once again.

The three-peat was complete for head coach Anne-Lise Brown and the Darien Blue Wave, a dynasty has been counted in Southwestern Connecticut and now the FCIAC champs will set their sights on the state tournament when they travel to Staples for the first round of the Class LL tournament.