BANGOR — With no seniors among its seven starters, the Bangor High School boys tennis team is looking forward to the 2012 season.
In the meantime, the Rams are trying to make the most of 2011.
Coach Cindi Howard’s club, seeded third in Eastern Maine Class A, defeated No. 6 Brewer 4-1 for the third time this spring in a regional quarterfinal amid windy and chilly conditions Thursday afternoon.
“We’re definitely a feisty group of kids here,” said Bangor second seed John Szewczyk, one of six juniors in the lineup. “Even though we’re all coming back next year, we’re looking forward to winning this year.”
Bangor (10-3) will play undefeated Hampden Academy (12-0) in Monday’s semifinal round. Second-ranked Hampden, which drew a quarterfinal bye along with top-seeded and eight-time defending EM champion Lewiston, defeated Bangor 4-1 twice earlier this spring.
“The two teams above us, Hampden and Lewiston, are both very good,” said Bangor top seed Patrick Stewart. “Hampden’s very senior laden and I’m pretty sure Lewiston is, too, but Lewiston’s feeder program is fantastic so they’ll probably lose all their seniors and come back next year and still be extremely good.”
Stewart was the only Bangor player to win his matches in Bangor’s two earlier meetings with Hampden.
“Against Hampden we’re just all going to have to play very well,” Stewart said. “We’ve got to get three wins, and they’re a very consistent team so we’re going to have to play our best to beat them.”
Bangor clinched its match against Brewer early, winning the first three matches to be concluded.
The Rams’ first doubles team of Chris Howat and Connor Griffin won the first seven games of their match in cruising to a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Brewer juniors Ryan Boothby and Adam Cossette.
Stewart then knocked off Brewer senior Alex Burgess 6-4, 6-2 at first singles, breaking Burgess in the seventh game of the match to take the lead in the first set and then maintaining an advantage throughout the second set.
“I didn’t play my best today, so when you’re not playing your best you have to figure other things out,” said Stewart. “My serve wasn’t working the best and my ground strokes weren’t the best they’ve been, so I just tried to get to the net and finish points and it worked out.”
Bangor’s second doubles team of Kris Bears and Robby Brookings scored Bangor’s third point with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Caleb Lynch and Jonathan Shedd before Brewer third seed Josh Carlson rallied from a 5-0 third-deficit to edge Bangor freshman Sam Bolduc 7-5, 4-6, 7-5.
Szewczyk then outlasted Ian Burgess 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the day’s final match.
“I had a really good first set, I came out hitting well,” said Szewczyk. “In the second set I kind of lost my head and he played really well, he’s a good player. In the third set I started to hit better shots and hit stronger, but it was a great match.”