NEW CANAAN -- On a picture perfect day for tennis at the New Canaan High School hard-tru courts, the statement rang out loud and clear.
Any FCIAC boys tennis team with aspirations for league and state tournament success will have to travel that road through Greenwich.
Greenwich High left nothing to chance Thursday, rolling to a 7-0 triumph over perennial archrival New Canaan.
"It was a better win than I expected," Greenwich head coach E.J. Haskell. "It showed that our guys knew New Canaan wasn't a team to take lightly. They all came with their strongest games."
Indeed. There was no third set drama at any of the five singles or two doubles matches on the sunny but not windy afternoon.
Greenwich's seniors set the tone for the proceedings for the Cardinals (4-0, 4-0 FCIAC).
"It's always fun when we're facing New Canaan," Purse said. "We've had good matches in the regular season, in the FCIAC playoffs and state tournament the last two years against Patrick (Newton). It was a good fight today. Michael (Grund) and I served and volleyed very well. It was important as co-captains for us to win and urge the other team members on."
At No. 1 singles, senior Tyler Kratky defeated New Canaan senior Nick Laub, 6-4, 6-2.
"It was a good win because Nick (Laub) is going to be a Division I college tennis player. He has a big game with big serves and big weapons," said Kratky, who will be attending Washington University in St. Louis in the fall and playing tennis there. "I had to stay solid. My strength is breaking opponents down on the court physically and mentally. This was an important victory for our team."
Laub felt he did what he could against Kratky.
"In my mind, Tyler is the best tennis player in the state. You need to maintain your best tennis from the first point of the match to the last point," Laub said. "I was up 4-1 in the first set. Then I missed some break point chances. You can't give Tyler any openings or opportunities. He gets to every single ball. I dwelled on some missed points and it broke me down mentally. The second set was all Tyler."
Laub, who will attend Colgate in the fall and play tennis there, is making the most of his senior season at New Canaan.
"I've played four years but the last four months is the longest span lately that I've been healthy," said Laub, who has battled through back, hand and wrist woes the previous two springs. "I've been working in the gym a lot and I'm in my best physical shape ever. I'm determined to be a more vocal captain this year. It's important to give everybody support to pump them up on the court."
Other straight-set winners for Greenwich were Zach Niklaus (No. 2 singles), Blake Niehaus (No. 3 singles), Tatsuya Tasaki (No. 4 singles), Ari Cepelewicz (No. 5 singles) along with sophomores Shaw Speer and Louis McKenzie (No. 2 doubles).
The next big challenge for Greenwich should come on May 1 when it hosts Staples.
"I'm extremely pleased with where the entire team is," Haskell said. "The work ethic and attitude is so good. The key to our success is our depth. The job now is to maintain and keep playing hard."
For New Canaan (6-1, 4-1 FCIAC) it is a bump in the road to overcome.
"It was a reality check today. Tough losses stay with you," Laub said. "I remember Greenwich handed us a regular season loss like this my sophomore year. We came back in the FCIACs and won a state title. We can rebound like that again."
"I'm not worried about losing 7-0. Greenwich is just better at every position than we are right now," said New Canaan veteran head coach Dan Borgman. "Greenwich showed more patience on the court today. I'm proud of our effort against a great team."
Greenwich 7, New Canaan 0
Singles: Tyler Kratky (G) def. Nick Laub, 6-4, 6-2; Zach Niklaus (G) def. Will Burger, 6-2, 6-3; Blake Niehaus (G) def. Tommy Worcester, 6-0, 6-0; Tatsuya Tasaki (G) def. Tim Casavant, 6-0, 6-0; Ari Cepelewicz (G) def. Devin McVeigh, 6-0, injury default. Doubles: C.J. Purse/Michael Grund (G) def. Patrick Newton/Jacob Reiss, 6-3, 6-2; Shaw Speer/Louis McKenzie (G) def. Luke McDermott/Andrew Penchuk, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3). Records: Greenwich 4-0, 4-0 FCIAC; New Canaan 6-1, 4-1 FCIAC