BANGOR, Maine — After splitting two tightly contested regular-season matches, there was a measure of uncertainty as fourth-seeded Bangor hosted No. 5 Hampden Academy in an Eastern Maine Class A girls tennis quarterfinal Friday.
“I was pretty worried about today because they’re a really good team,” said Bangor third singles player Emily Chick. “I didn’t know what to expect coming in.”
But the third match of the spring between the two rivals lacked the drama of the earlier encounters, as Bangor won the first three matches contested and cruised to a 5-0 victory.
Bangor (9-4) has little time to savor the win, as coach Jason Pangburn’s Rams are scheduled to trek to top-ranked Lewiston (12-0) for a regional semifinal at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Lewiston, the four-time defending state champion, defeated the Rams 5-0 on May 12.
“They’re an extremely good team,” said Chick.
That semifinal will be part of a boys-girls doubleheader, as the fifth-seeded Bangor boys, 8-5 after a 4-1 quarterfinal victory over No. 4 Brewer on Wednesday, also will visit a top-ranked Lewiston team that is undefeated and the owner of the last seven Class A state titles.
Chick, part of Bangor’s all-senior starting lineup, helped the Rams get off to their quick quarterfinal start, using solid ground strokes to defeat Hampden sophomore Sara-Ellen Glidden 6-3, 6-0. Chick spotted Glidden a 3-2 first-set lead before winning the last 10 games of the match,
“I’ve been having a rough time playing recently, so it was tough and Sara-Ellen is a really good opponent,” said Chick. “I definitely had to play better, and I felt like my ground strokes improved after the first couple of games.
“I had a lot of momentum going into the second set, and that really helped me out.”
Bangor then swept the two doubles matches to clinch the team victory. The second doubles tandem of Chloe Lucy and Melanie Jackson scored a key break to get to 5-5 in the first set, then went on to win nine of the final 10 games of the match to earn a 7-5, 6-1 victory over seniors Lana Knight and Victoria Gower.
The Rams’ first doubles team of Adriana Capuano and Michaela Whitney had to survive a similar decisive moment at the end of the first set before moving on to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over junior Rachel Henderson and sophomore Emily Gower.
Capuano and Whitney scored a service break to take a 5-3 lead in the opening set, then survived a marathon ninth game to clinch the set on Capuano’s serve.
“It was a really long game, but we just tried to work hard to finish it,” said Capuano. “Plus it was hot, so I kind of used that as motivation to be done with the match, and we strategized to finished it off.”
Bangor finished off the sweep as top-seeded Annie McKay defeated Maci Monson 6-3, 6-4 and second-seeded Emma Coffey topped Monique Kelmenson 9-7 in a tiebreaker after the two had split sets, with Kelmenson winning the first set 6-2 before Coffey rebounded with a 6-0 victory in the second set.
While Bangor will be a definite underdog in its semifinal, the veteran Rams are looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a really good opportunity for us, to have this to remember from our senior year for making it so far in the playoffs,” said Whitney.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY GABOR DEGRE
Annie McKay of Bangor makes a two-handed backhanded return to Hampden Academy’s Maci Monson during Friday’s Eastern Maine Class A girls tennis quarterfinal at Bangor. McKay, the Rams’ top singles player, won her match 6-3, 6-4, and Bangor defeated the Broncos 3-2.