HAMPDEN, Maine — It seemed like no more than a mid-match mini-drama at the time, but Joe Bennett and Riley Perkins’ great escape at second doubles Saturday made all the difference as undefeated Gorham won its second straight Class A boys tennis state championship.
The two seniors were 6-1 winners in their first set against Bangor’s Patrick Lee and Chandler Stewart, but the Bangor duo rallied to win the second set 6-4 and force a match tiebreaker to determine the winner.
Perkins and Bennett won that first-to-10-points-and-win-by-two mini-set 10-7, which gave Gorham a 2-1 lead before classmate Ryan Gilbert defeated Bangor’s Josh Audibert at second singles to give Gorham an insurmountable 3-1 advantage en route to a 3-2 victory at the Armstrong Tennis Center.
The second doubles heroics were similar to those in the Western Maine final earlier in the week, when Perkins and Bennett rallied for an 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory that produce the match-clinching point against Kennebunk.
“They came through in the clutch like seniors should,” said Gilbert.
Bangor, which graduated six of its top seven players from the 2012 team that fell to Gorham 4-1, finished its season with a 15-1 record.
“We’re just proud to be where we are today,” said Bangor junior top seed Sam Bolduc, who avenged a lopsided loss to Gorham’s Milan Vidovic at third singles a year ago with a 6-4, 6-1 win at first singles in their rematch. “We didn’t expect to get this far, and we’re pretty satisfied with the outcome even though we didn’t get the win.”
Gorham’s veteran first doubles tandem of Mike Lubelczyk and Tom Susi defeated Jackson McGarvey and Andrew Leighton without losing a game to stake the Western Maine champs to a 1-0 lead.
Then Perkins and Bennett persevered at second doubles to make it 2-0 before Bangor sophomore exchange student Mateo Laredo capped off an undefeated season at third singles by defeating Gorham freshman Thomas Brent 6-2, 6-3.
Gilbert, who also won his match at second singles in last year’s state final, emerged from a succession of long rallies with Audibert to score a 6-1, 6-1 victory that produced the clinching point for Gorham.
“Bangor, they’re great people,” said Gilbert. “My guy was a really nice guy. But we had a goal freshman year to win it our senior year. it was good to win it last year, it’s great to win it this year.”
Earlier in the day, Brunswick retained the Class A girls title while the Falmouth girls and Cape Elizabeth boys won Class B championships and Waynflete of Portland swept both Class C titles.
The Class A girls match came down to a dramatic first doubles finish between Brunswick’s Semiera MacMullen and Hannah Bobker and Portland’s Kayla Berg and Georgia Drew.
Berg and Drew won the first set 6-4 before MacMullen and Bobker stayed alive by winning a second-set tiebreaker 7-4. That left the teams to play a match tiebreaker, with MacMullen and Bobker winning 11-9 to leave the teams tied at two matches apiece.
That left the final point for Brunswick top seed Maisie Silverman, a junior who won the 2012 state singles title and also reached the championship match both this spring and as a freshman in 2011.
Silverman defeated Portland’s Annette Denekas 6-0, 6-0 to give the Dragons the 3-2 victory and an undefeated season.
Ali Stankiewicz scored Brunswick’s other point, topping Sophie Hulbert 6-2, 6-2 at second singles, while Portland got straight-set victories from Margot Andreasen at third singles and at second doubles from Lily Bruenjes and Alyssa Vaccaro.
In Class B boys, Cape Elizabeth — the only non-repeater among the six champions crowned Saturday — capped off an undefeated season by defeating previously unbeaten Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor 5-0 to win its first state title since 2010.
The Capers (16-0) won all five matches in straight sets, led by top seed Matt Gilman’s 6-0, 6-2 victory over MDI sophomore Luke Horton. Peter Higgins and Satchel McCarthy also won singles matches for coach Andy Strout’s club, while the first doubles team of Mike Mills and Sam Sherman and the second doubles tandem of Eli Breed and Luke Gilman also won their matches without dropping a set.
In Class B girls, Falmouth won its sixth straight state title by defeating Waterville 3-2.
The undefeated Yachtsmen got victories from No. 3 singles player Libby Voccola and the doubles tandems of Abby Payson and Katie Ryan and Katie Carew and Caroline Ray to clinch the victory.
Waterville second seed Tiffany Suchanek won a battle of talented freshmen, edging Julia Brogan to avenge a loss to the Falmouth first-year at the state singles quarterfinals.
Falmouth top seed Olivia Leavitt, the recently crowned state singles champion who has been battling a biceps injury, retired from her match with a 3-2 first-set lead against Waterville’s Colleen O’Donnell after learning her team had clinched the championship.
In Class C boys, Waynflete of Portland also won its sixth straight state crown, defeating George Stevens Academy 5-0 in the final for the fourth straight year.
Neither team had lost to a Class C opponent this spring entering the match, but Waynflete’s singles trio of Patrick Ordway, Isaac Salas and Ben Shapiro all posted straight-set victories.
Waynflete also scored straight-set wins in the doubles matches, but the results were closer as Clancy Mitchell and Jon Tao defeated Ed Lameyer and Luke Theoharidis 7-6(5), 6-2 and Stephen Epstein and Misha Linnehan shaded Leo Yuan and Nate Boechat 6-4, 7-6(2).
In Class C girls, Waynflete fought off a spirited challenge from Van Buren to emerge with a 4-1 win and its third straight state championship.
Van Buren, which earlier in the week won its first Eastern Maine title, scored the first point of the match when Isabel Parent and Alexis Ouellette secured a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Nina Flight and Jean Chen at second doubles.
Waynflete third seed Allie Armstrong tied the match with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Chantal Deveau before the Flyers won at both second singles and first doubles in 10-point match tiebreakers after splitting the first two sets.
Abby Cough and Sophie Raffel rallied past Van Buren’s Felisha Bouchard and Jacinta Deschaine 2-6, 6-0 (10-3) at first doubles while Phoebe Suva outlasted Courtney Parent 6-4, 5-7 (10-7) at second singles.
Waynflete top seed Emily White added a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Parise Rossignol at first singles.