LEWISTON, Maine — The odds were certainly stacked against the Mount Ararat High School boys tennis team. Arguably, Falmouth has two of the top tennis players in the state of Maine in Justin Brogan at No. 1 singles, and No. 2 Brendan McCarthy, this year’s Maine Principals’ Association’s schoolboy champion.
Yes, Brogan came into Monday’s state A boys title match hobbling after suffering a severe ankle injury in the schoolboy tournament, only returning on Thursday when Falmouth downed Deering to capture the Western A title.
Brogan limped through two games before retiring against Mount Ararat No. 1 Nick Mathieu, but the Yachtsmen had already clinched the team title in a 3-2 win over the Eagles at Bates College.
“They are a tough team, and they came out ready to play, but my boys battled point after point after point, with a lot of deuce games,” said Mount Ararat (10-6) coach Michele Crawford. “I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”
McCarthy wasted little time picking up Falmouth’s first point, taking a 6-1, 6-0 decision over Mount Ararat’s Mike Crawford.
“I told Mike to go out there, play tennis and get to as many balls as he can, and I thought he battled pretty hard against a really good player,” said Michele Crawford of her son’s play.
The Yachtsmen claimed a 2-0 lead as Trey Fallon and Matt Hutcheon swept to a 6-0, 6-0 win against Eagles’ Jon Roux and Joey Reed at No. 2 doubles. With Brogan warming up, Falmouth’s Aiden McGrory closed in on the clinching third point, securing a 6-0, 6-0 win over Joe Thomas at No. 3 singles.
“I just tried to stick to my game plan,” said McGrory. “It was important to clinch it prior to Justin’s match. For him to come back was amazing. We didn’t expect it, and we are so happy to win this for him. Mount Ararat is a good team and worked hard to get here. We hadn’t seen any of the teams in Class A, but it worked out in the end.”
“It was pretty even at times and was very competitive,” said Mount Ararat coach Don Foley. “They went over and above this year, and I was proud that the lineup pretty much stayed the same throughout the year.”
Brogan tried to play against hard-hitting Mt. Ararat freshman Mathieu, who lost to McCarthy in the schoolboy final on June 2. Tied 1-1, Brogan limped to the net and conceded the match, giving the Eagles a point.
Mount Ararat earned the match’s final point at No. 1 doubles, with senior captains Trevor Mayo and Eric Knight downing Falmouth’s Ben Aicher and Joe Lesniak, 6-3, 6-2.
“The boys believed that they could play with anybody and beat anybody on any given day,” said Michele Crawford. “They played the opponent they were set up against and felt that they deserved to be there. We are not going home 5-0, but 3-2. There is no shame in that.”
“This was a very good season, and we improved throughout the course of the year,” said Mike Crawford. “This was an A-plus season for us. This is something that we will remember for a long time, being the first Mount Ararat boys tennis team to get to states. This was remarkable, winning Eastern A.”
“The Western Maine Conference is such a tough conference, and it really prepares you for this,” said Falmouth coach Bob McCully, whose team won the Class B state title in 2011 and 2012 before falling to Cape Elizabeth in the 2013 Western A final. “Mt. Ararat really showed well for itself. They won when the pressure was on, where we were not really pushed all year. I was worried we would not be ready, but we were able to get it done.”