December 11, 2017
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Experienced Brunswick tops Bangor boys tennis in battle of unbeatens

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Successful tennis is typically about well-aimed groundstrokes and booming serves.

But experience often is just as important as Brunswick displayed Friday afternoon during its 5-0 victory over Bangor in a battle of the last remaining undefeated boys teams in Class A North.

“I think we played really well,” said Brunswick coach Sewall Janeway. “This was a pretty tough match with a lot of close sets. We definitely respect Bangor.”

Brunswick, its starting seven featuring five seniors as well as five players back from the team’s trip to the 2016 regional semifinals, used steady singles play and resilience from its doubles tandems to push past a Bangor team with twice as many freshmen (two) as seniors in its lineup.

“The experience is really important, especially in the tiebreaks with the mental part of it,” said Janeway. “Then just having been playing against other students at this level, that experience counts.

“We don’t have any superstars,” he added, “but we’re deep and that’s a good thing to have at this level.”

Top-ranked Brunswick (4-0) largely dominated the three singles matches with seniors Dasol Kim, Luke Estabrook and Manuel Asens all scoring straight-set victories.

Kim and Estabrook topped two of Bangor’s youngest players, with Kim defeating freshman Dennis Stewart at first singles and Estabrook topping sophomore Conner Lee.

Asens, an exchange student from Argentina, had the toughest time of the trio. He was forced into a second-set tiebreaker before outlasting Bangor junior Bryson McDonough 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) at third singles.

Second-ranked Bangor (3-1) held leads at stages of both doubles matches before Brunswick mounted comebacks.

Brunswick seniors Sawyer Nichols and Jackson Gordon trailed 5-1 in the first set before rallying for a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 victory over juniors Henry Nagle and Tom Gause.

Junior Wyatt Slocum and sophomore Kian Murray also trailed at the outset of their second doubles encounter with Bangor senior Ian Nagle and freshman Sam Lane, then withstood a comeback by the Rams in the second set to secure a 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-0 win in a match that lasted nearly 2½ hours.

“I think the doubles did absolutely great,” said Bangor coach Cyndi Howard, whose team had entered the match coming off consecutive 5-0 victories over Cony of Augusta, Edward Little of Auburn and Brewer. “Second doubles came back to win a tiebreak and take it to a third set, and the first doubles came out very strong.

“There was a difference experience-wise today, and the teams we played before this weren’t maybe as strong as Brunswick so we knew coming into this that we were going to be playing a very strong team.”

Bangor is scheduled to return to action against Hampden Academy on Saturday morning, and with just four seniors among the 26 players in the boys tennis program this spring Howard anticipates that her team will continue to improve throughout their remaining eight matches that lead into postseason play.

“I think we have a good chance toward the end of this year and even next year because we do have a young team and a large JV team,” she said.

For a Brunswick squad with eight seniors among its 13 players, that future is even more immediate.

“I think there’s definitely a feeling that we have what it takes to go pretty far this year, even further than last year,” said Janeway, whose team is 19-1 in individual matches this spring. “But we recognize that it’s not going to be easy.

“We’re not invincible. We have a lot of stuff to work on.”

 


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