Trumbull's Andrew Ilie repeats as Class LL tennis champion
MIDDLETOWN — A repeat and a four-peat were achieved at the CIAC Class LL Boys Tennis Tournament.
Trumbull junior Andrew Ilie captured the Class LL boys singles title for the second straight season, while Staples extended its reign of supremacy to four years, adding another team championship trophy to its collection.
The Wreckers also claimed the LL doubles championship, with the freshman duo of Robbie Daus and Tighe Brunetti winning in straight sets in the title matchup.
In the Class LL singles final, the top-seeded Ilie pulled out a well-earned 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 victory against Westhill senior Jordan Soifer in Friday’s final before a big crowd at Wesleyan University.
“It is a great feeling getting another title,” Ilie said. “Playing in this tournament is a special experience, with other kids from other teams cheering you on. It’s an experience you don’t get in other tournaments.”
Following a solid first set, Ilie fell behind early in the second set and couldn’t recover. Yet he got his game back in gear in the deciding third set.
“I didn’t play my best in the second set, so in the third set, I had to just reset and start over. I tried to grind him down and I was pretty persistent.”
Up next for Ilie is the CIAC State Open, which begins on Sunday. It includes 16 singles players and eight doubles teams.“
This was a very tough match that will prepare me for the Open,” Ilie said.
Soifer, a seventh-seeded senior, made a strong showing in his first appearance in the tournament.
“Being here was pretty crazy, I didn’t expect to make it to the finals,” Soifer said. “I got off to a little bit of a slow start in the first set, then I played well in the second set. It was neck-and-neck in the third set, until he got up 5-3 with a key break. There were a few big points that decided the match.”
The Class LL doubles final saw No. 1-seeded Daus and Brunetti notch a 6-4, 6-2 triumph against third-seeded Tyler Pomerance/Rohan Suryawanshi of Westhill, in a match that featured strong play at the net by both squads.
“It means a lot, going into this we were the No. 1 seed, so everyone expected us to win, but we had some tough matches to before this match,” Daus said. “This was such a pleasing experience.”
Said Brunetti: “This match it was pretty even, but once we got to 4-all we got fired up and won some big points, that helped us a lot. Since our team lost at FCIACs, we really wanted to win states and secure a title.”
Staples coach Kris Hrisovulos was impressed with the chemistry his freshmen displayed despite teaming up for just the postseason.
“It’s pretty amazing for two freshmen to step up in this environment,” Hrisovulos said. “They mostly have been playing singles this year, but in doubles they were just solid and strong and did not drop a set. This is the first time in our program’s history that two freshmen won the title, so for them it’s pretty historic.”
Staples, which has won the team title each season since 2016, won the championship with 23 team points. Greenwich was in second (21), followed by Ridgefield (16) and Westhill (14).
“It’s never easy to win these titles, so for us, this is a big thing,” said Hrisovulos, whose squad was the runner-up in the FCIAC Tournament. “It was a good regroup after FCIACs. We have been on a pretty good streak at states. These guys believe in each other and they came through."