May 23, 2018
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Maine high school tennis teams begin quests for regional, state titles

Michael C. York | BDN
Michael C. York | BDN
Mount Desert Island’s Luke Horton has led the Trojans to the No. 1 seed in Eastern Maine Class B as team tennis playoffs get under way.
By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

The high school team tennis tournament gets underway this week with regional preliminary-round matches scheduled around the state Monday and Tuesday as the first step in crowning state champions.

Here’s a look at each division.

Class A boys

Defending state champion Gorham and 2012 Eastern Maine champion Bangor both enter postseason play with 12-0 records.

In the West, Gorham has five seniors among its top seven players even though top seed Kyle Curley has been sidelined with a back injury. Milan Vidovic, the third seed last spring when the Rams defeated Bangor 4-1 in the state final, is playing first singles while Ryan Gilbert is back at second singles and freshman Thomas Brent has stepped into the third singles slot.

Gorham is followed in Western A by Windham (11-1) and Kennebunk (9-3), but the Rams defeated both teams in their last two regular-season matches, Kennebunk by a 4-1 count and Windham 5-0.

Bangor graduated six starters from the 2012 team that ended Lewiston’s nine-year hold on the Eastern A title, but it has been business as usual for coach Cindi Howard’s club. Junior Sam Bolduc, the lone returning starter from last year, has moved up from third singles to first, with senior Josh Audibert and sophomore Mateo Laredo stepping into the other singles slots.

Senior Andrew Leighton and junior Jackson McGarvey play first doubles while juniors Patrick Lee and Chandler Stewart are at second doubles.

Bangor finished second in the final Heal point standings just behind 12-0 Brunswick but defeated the Dragons 5-0 in last week’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship match with only the first doubles match extended to three sets.

Brunswick is led by seniors Mitchell Cooney and James Kenyon and junior Joel Soloway.

Fourth-ranked Hampden Academy (10-2) reached last year’s regional final and the Broncos’ only losses this spring were two 3-2 decisions to Bangor. Seniors Alex Townsend and Ian Miller lead coach John Plourde’s club.

Class A girls

A junior-laden Hampden Academy team rests atop the Eastern Maine standings at 12-0.

The Broncos feature state singles quarterfinalist Ashley Woodside and fellow junior Pauline Liebig and won 56 of their 60 regular-season individual matches.

Defending state champion Brunswick (12-0) defeated Hampden 4-1 in the KVAC championship match. The Dragons, led by reigning state singles champion Maisie Silverman, did not lose an individual match during the regular season.

Third-ranked Brewer (9-3) features singles players Ashley Gibula and Claire Valley.

Portland (12-0) and Scarborough (11-1) are the top seeds in Western A, with the Bulldogs earning the No. 1 ranking after edging the Red Storm 3-2 in their lone meeting on May 6.

Class B boys

Falmouth is the two-time defending champion, but undefeated Cape Elizabeth (12-0) defeated Falmouth 4-1 in an early season meeting to end the Yachtsmen’s 34-match win streak. In Matt Gilman, Peter Higgins and Satchel McCarthy the Capers had three of the final 16 players in this year’s state singles tournament.

Lincoln Academy of Newcastle also is undefeated, its 12-0 record augmented by a 4-1 win over Eastern B third seed Waterville in the KVAC championships. The Eagles are led by reigning 2012 state singles champion Jordan Friedland.

Mount Desert Island (12-0) is the East’s top seed, led by sophomore Luke Horton, a state singles Round of 16 qualifier. Seniors Ian Sampson and Andrew Dalton also play singles for coach Ben Rowell’s club, while classmates Caleb Cough and Sam Jacobson play first doubles.

Two of MDI’s victories were 3-2 decisions over Ellsworth, which had won three of the last four EM titles but endured heavy graduation losses after last year and is 7-5 this spring.

Another contender is second-seeded Caribou, the last Eastern Maine school to win the Class B state championship in 2008. Coach John Habeeb’s Vikings have freshman Ethan Plourde and sophomore Michael Marquis in the top two single slots followed by senior third seed Zac Gorence.

Class B girls

Western Maine top seed Falmouth (12-0) is seeking its sixth straight state title, with the Yachtsmen riding an 89-match winning streak over the last six seasons and winning all 60 of its individual matches this spring.

Falmouth is led by sophomore Olivia Leavitt, senior Libby Voccola and freshman Julia Brogan — all state singles semifinals.

Waterville, the two-time defending Eastern B champ, looms as a a top threat to return to the state match this spring. Led by state singles quarterfinalists Colleen O’Donnell and Tiffany Suchanek and Round of 16 qualifier Olivia Lopes, the 12-0 Purple Panthers, like Falmouth, have yet to lose an individual match this spring.

Mount Desert Island (11-1) is the top seed, while Camden Hills of Rockport (11-1) also is seeded ahead of Waterville. Waterville defeated Camden Hills 5-0 both during the regular season and in the KVAC championships.

Class C boys

Waynflete of Portland is the five-time defending state champion, and with three of the final 16 players in the state singles tournament — led by 2011 individual champion Patrick Ordway — the Flyers are favored to extend their title run. Waynflete is 9-3 and ranked fourth in Western C, but its only losses have come against Class B Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth (twice).

Top-ranked Saint Dominic of Auburn (12-0), No. 2 Hall-Dale of Hallowell (11-1) and No. 3 Boothbay are other contenders in the West.

The East standings are led by Madawaska (9-3), three-time defending EM champion George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill (10-2) and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (10-2). None of those teams met during the season, and none has lost to a Class C opponent though GSA is 49-1 in individual matches against Class C foes, while Mattanawcook is 45-5 and Madawaska is 38-7.

Class C girls

George Stevens Academy, the two-time defending Eastern Maine champion, is 10-2 and ranked fifth this year, having lost only to Class B Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island while winning 48 of its 50 individual matches in the other 10 team encounters.

Mattanawcook Academy (11-1) is the top seed, followed by Saint John Valley rivals Van Buren (8-2) and Fort Kent (8-4) and fourth-place Piscataquis of Guilford, 10-2 in just its second year as a varsity program.

Hall-Dale (11-1) is the Western C top seed for the third straight year. The Bulldogs have fallen to two-time defending state champion Waynflete during each of the last three postseasons — last spring in the Western Maine final and in the quarterfinals in both 2011 and 2010.

Winthrop, the only team to defeat Hall-Dale this season, is the second seed, just ahead of Dirigo of Dixfield, while Waynflete is lurking in sixth place with a 7-5 record — four of the losses coming against Class B foes to go with a split with Class C rival North Yarmouth Academy.

Quarterfinal rounds are on Thursday, followed by semifinals Saturday, regional finals on Wednesday, June 5, and state finals on Saturday, June 8.

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