WATERVILLE — The 2010 season ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Lewiston boys tennis team in the form of a loss to Windham in the Class A state championship match.
But that only fueled the Blue Devils’ fire for 2011, and it showed in the Eastern Maine championship match at Colby College on Wednesday morning.
Coach Ron Chicoine’s club captured its ninth consecutive regional championship with a 4-1 victory over Hampden Academy.
“They were highly motivated when we came into the season,” said Chicoine, whose 15-0 Blue Devils will play for the state championship at Bates College in their hometown on Saturday.
Hampden, which advanced to the regional finals for the first time since 2006, finished its season 14-1.
The Lewiston girls made it a sweep by defeating Brunswick 3-2.
In the boys match, Hampden’s No. 1 doubles team of John Wilson and Nick Boomer gave the Devils’ Alex and Ben Chicoine — the coach’s nephews — a run for their money before falling 6-3, 6-1, while Jake Berube and Brett Vallee gave Lewiston a 2-0 edge in the team match by knocking off Kent Reichel and Nico Palacios 6-1, 6-1.
Coach Chicoine was happy with the way his No. 1 doubles team responded to the challenge.
“Alex has been playing doubles for all four years, and he has not lost much,” he said. “He’s been in battles before. I was happy to see that our guys stepped it up in the second set.”
No. 3 singles man Eric Morin knocked off Thomas Hoffman 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the match, while Scott Gagne defeated Matt Meo 6-1, 6-2.
Philipp Schoenberger, Hampden’s top singles player, gave the Broncos a bright spot by grinding out a three-set victory against Eric Hall in a match that took nearly 2 1/2 hours.
Hall claimed the first set 6-3. Schoenberger outlasted Hall 6-3 in a long second set before taking the third 6-0.
“It’d be awfully easy knowing that the team match is over to kind of have a little bit of a letdown, that sometimes happens,” said HA coach John Plourde. “I thought he picked up some energy in the second set.”
Given the challenge his club was facing, Plourde was happy with his Broncos.
“We knew it was a challenge,” he said. “I thought today, even though we went down 4-1, we competed very well.”
In the girls match, Lewiston entered the match as the underdog, an unfamiliar role for the perennial tennis power.
Even though the Dragons’ Musie Silverman, one of the state’s top singles players, bested Jess Bowen 6-2, 6-0 to open the day, Lewiston would claim the next three matches, including a somewhat surprising win at second doubles from Paige LeBlanc and Courtney Aldrich They bested Sara Fresshly and Laura Pavitt 6-2, 6-4.
The Dragons had beaten Lewiston three times entering Wednesday’s play, twice in the regular season and in the KVAC championships.
“They beat us three times in a row, and they say that (if) you lost the battle, win the war,” said LeBlanc.
It also helped that Lewiston took the other two singles matches, with Abby Blaisdell beating Rachel Gross 6-2, 6-1 and Becca Lesard knocking off Willa Purcell 6-0, 6-3, rendering the No. 1 doubles match, the last one to finish, meaningless.
Brunswick’s Erin and Shannon Kenyan did defeat Brittany Martin and Kirsty Beauchesne 6-4, 6-4.
Lewiston improved to 13-2 while Brunswick finished the season 14-1.