June 22, 2018
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High school team tennis state championship matches moved indoors Saturday

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

HAMPDEN, Maine — Twelve teams from around the state will converge in search of six state championships Saturday, but they’ll have to play indoors to realize that dream.

With rain in the forecast, officials from the Maine Principals’ Association on Friday morning announced a change in venue for the boys and girls state finals in Classes A, B and C from the outdoor courts at the University of Maine at Orono to the four indoor courts at Bangor Tennis on the Mecaw Road in Hampden.

Play will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the Class B boys match between Waynflete of Portland and George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill, followed at 10:30 a.m. by the Class B girls battle between Falmouth and Waterville.

The afternoon session is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m. with the Class C girls final between Waynflete and Van Buren, with the Class B boys match between Cape Elizabeth and Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor at 2:30 p.m.

The Class A finals will round out the day’s competition, with the girls’ match between Portland and Brunswick at 4:30 p.m. and the boys match between Bangor and Gorham at 6:30 p.m.

Starting times for all but the day’s first match are approximate depending on the length of preceding matches.

Here, in order of play, is a capsule look at the state finals:

Class C boys: Waynflete (12-3) and GSA (13-2) have met in five of the last seven state finals. Waynflete won all of those previous meetings and is favored to win a sixth straight title largely on the basis of a singles grouping led by senior Patrick Ordway, a four-time state singles semifinalist and 2011 state champ. Isaac Salas, a singles quarterfinalist, and Round of 16 qualifier Ben Shapiro add to the Flyers’ singles depth.

GSA has just one senior in its lineup in top singles player Johnny Xue. Xue advanced to the state singles Round of 32 where he had match point against York’s Andrew LaMonica before retiring because he had a commitment that wouldn’t allow him to return two days later to play in the next round, thereby allowing LaMonica to advance.

Class B girls: Falmouth (15-0) has won the last five state titles, defeating Waterville each of the last two years. Falmouth top seed Olivia Leavitt — the new state singles champion — has been sidelined by injury during the Western B team tournament, yet in senior Libby Voccola and freshman Julia Brogan the Yachtsmen have two other singles players who reached the state semifinals.

Waterville (15-0) has been the best of the East for six of the last eight years, and the Purple Panthers boast a strong singles contingent of its own in state quarterfinalists Colleen O’Donnell and Tiffany Suchanek and Round of 16 qualifier Olivia Lopes.

Class C girls: Waynflete (10-5) is the two-time defending state champion, while Van Buren (11-2) just won its first Eastern Maine championship in the sport.

Van Buren is led by top seed Parise Rossignol, one of the state’s top schoolgirl basketball players and one of just two juniors among a seniorless tennis lineup that also includes sophomores Courtney Parent, Felisha Bouchard and Isabel Parent and freshmen Jacinta Deschaine and Alexis Ouellette.

Eastern Maine has yet to win a Class C girls tennis state title in 18 tries since the division was added in 1995.

Class B boys: Cape Elizabeth (15-0) returns to the state final for the first time since winning it all in 2010 after dispatching two-time defending state champion Falmouth in the regional semifinals. The Capers are led by state singles semifinalist Matt Gilman, quarterfinalist Peter Higgins and Round of 16 qualifier Satchel McCarthy.

MDI (15-0) is back in the state final for the first time since winning back-to-back Eastern B championships in 2006 and 2007. The Trojans feature five seniors in a lineup anchored by sophomore top seed Luke Horton, a state singles Round of 16 qualifier.

Class A girls: Brunswick (15-0) is after its second straight state championship after roaring through its Eastern Maine schedule winning 74 of 75 individual matches. The Dragons are led by junior top seed Maisie Silverman, the 2012 state singles champ and runnerup this spring, and No. 2 seed Ali Stankiewicz, a Round of 16 qualifier.

Portland (15-0) won its first Western Maine crown since 2008 and is seeking its first state championship. The Bulldogs also are solid at the top of their ladder with Annette Denekas and Sophie Hulbert.

Class A boys: Bangor (15-0) and Gorham (15-0) are meeting for the second straight year but both teams are markedly different from their immediate predecessors.

Gorham, which defeated Bangor in last year’s state final, fields five seniors among its top seven but has had to compete this spring without returning top seed Kyle Curley, sidelined by a back injury. Milan Vidovec, a Round of 32 singles qualifier, has moved up from third singles to replace Curley in the lineup while Ryan Gilbert is back at second singles for the second year.

Only top seed Sam Bolduc represented Bangor in last year’s match with Gorham, with Bolduc playing third singles in the 2012 encounter. Of the Rams’ newcomers, senior Josh Audibert is undefeated at second singles after a stirring three-set win over Hampden’s Ian Miller in the Eastern A final, while sophomore Mateo Laredo also is unbeaten at third singles.

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