WESTPORT -- The Staples boys tennis team is one step closer to its first conference title in 11 seasons and has looked dominant throughout the postseason.
Staples advanced to the FCIAC final for the third straight spring, sweeping Ridgefield 4-0 on Thursday afternoon at Staples High School.
"It's incredible, this league is so tough with a lot of good teams out there especially this year," Staples senior Graham Hyman said. "We really had to fight today, both teams knew what was on the line and it was a great accomplishment."
Because the hosts posted wins in the opening four games, the rest of the matches were halted and Staples celebrated a win over one of its biggest rivals, setting up a championship match early next week.
"The FCIAC is the toughest conference in the state," Staples coach Kris Hrisovulos said. "It's been the championship that's eluded us. We've been close and to win it's going to be a challenge."
The Wreckers posted three quick wins, as No. 2 singles Hyman took down Jordan Kuchta 6-0, 6-2, No. 4 singles Conor Mitnick beat Tommy Knortz 6-1, 6-4, and No. 1 doubles Steve Thomson/Zack Levin defeated Matt DePrima/Doug Butturini 6-3, 6-3.
"I think it was important to get off to a quick start; because we felt (Ridgefield's) weakness was their mental toughness," Hrisovulos said. "If we could put the pressure on them early it would be an advantage for us."
As the rest of the matches began to get competitive, Staples sophomore Baxter Stein outlasted Hans Reuter 6-1, 7-5 to complete the sweep and avoid any unnecessary drama.
The second-seeded Wreckers will now face Greenwich in the final on Tuesday at Wilton High School and get a hance to avenge its only defeat on the season.
It will be a tall order for Staples, as the Cardinals have won the FCIAC title in nine of the previous 10 seasons and took down the Wreckers 5-2 during the regular season.
"I think we can attack some areas in the bottom of their lineup," Hrisovulos said. "Our depth has been our bread and butter this year. If (Greenwich) are vulnerable in any area it's at the bottom of their lineup. It's not going to be easy, but I don't think we are long shots."
The Tigers were unable to avenge a 5-2 defeat to the Wreckers in the regular season and will now turn their attention to the state tournament, which begins Tuesday.
"I'm proud of our kids, we played the best we could today," Ridgefield coach Brad Harrington said. "We played some competitive matches and Staples is a very tough team."
Staples 4, Ridgefield 0.
Singles: Graham Hyman (S) defeated Jordan Kuchta 6-0, 6-2; Conor Mitnick (S) defeated Tommy Knortz 6-1, 6-4; Baxter Stein (S) defeated Hans Reuter 6-1, 7-5 Steve Thomson/Zack Levin (S) defeated Matt DePrima/Doug Butturini 6-3, 6-3; Records: Ridgefield 15-3, (14-3 FCIAC); Staples: 19-1 (16-1).