Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

GFA wins NEPSAC Girls Tennis Championship
John Nash

 

Lane Durkin remembers watching Devon Wolfe — at the time an eighth grader — play tennis for the Dragons in 2014. That year Wolfe led GFA to the 2014 New England Prep School Athletic Council championship.

Five years later, now an eighth grader herself, Durkin stepped into that exact same role this spring.

“I knew that Devon was amazing before I was even here on the team,” Durkin said. “I just wanted to fill that role because I know she was such a leader for this team. I said if Devon can do it, I want to try to do it, too.”

Over the weekend, at Kingswood Oxford on Saturday and at Westminster School on Sunday, the Dragons won three matches in 3-0 fashion to claim the 2019 NEPSAC Class C championship over Concord Academy.

“We talked a lot about how nobody gives things away and how important it was to go out there and try to win instead of trying not to lose,” GFA coach Monique Rutledge said. “We wanted to use everything we learned over the season and put it together. They performed beautifully.”

The first point came from Durkin with her straight sets victory at first singles.

Junior Ryan Boyle was the team’s elder statesman on the court and made it a 2-0 score with her victory at second singles.

“It’s really exciting,” Boyle said. “I’m glad we were able to pull it out and get the win.”

On Saturday, in wins over Pingree (3-0) and St. Luke’s (3-0), the Dragons swept singles play with Dasha Timasheva pulling out the match of the tournament in the semifinals against the Storm.

After winning the first set, and falling behind in the second, Timasheva staved off three match points to force a super tie-breaker. The sophomore won that to clinch a berth in the championship.

“Dasha always won when it counted,” Rutledge said. “It’s not just one player and that’s the beauty of it.”

The New England championship, in fact, was clinched by GFA’s second doubles team—a duo that included sophomore Harriett Wells, who played with Timasheva last season, and freshman Lane Murphy.

“We have some principles on our team and one of them is to run for every ball,” Murphy said. “Just get one more ball over the net. We have that mentality, that it’s never over until the handshakes. As a team, we embraced that.”

Getting to clinch the win for her team is something Murphy will remember forever, too.

“They’ve always been there for me,” Murphy said of her tennis teammates. “To be able to return that, it felt so good. I never thought as a freshman I’d be so involved with the team, but we helped each other feel like we were all together.”

Junior Ava Ewing teamed up with eighth grader Annabel Brawn on Saturday for the quarterfinals and semifinals, while freshman Anya Bettegowda joined Brawn for Sunday’s championship round.

The tournament format of three singles matches and two doubles matches left some Dragons on the sidelines following the regular season, but senior co-captain Allie Agnew was on-hand to watch her team win the championship.

“You could definitely see by the end of the season, how much everybody had improved,” Agnew said. “This is so amazing.”

And with Durkin leading the way, the Dragons might just do it again in 2020, too.