The renewal of a rivalry and potential battle of teammates looms on the competitive horizon when this year’s high school tennis state singles tournament nears its conclusion.
The journey toward the semifinals and finals to be played at Bates College in Lewiston on June 2 begins this weekend with regional qualifying rounds throughout the state.
The battle for the girls crown could involve a third straight championship match between defending title holder Olivia Leavitt of Falmouth and 2012 winner Maisie Silverman of Brunswick.
Silverman, a senior, has finished no worse than second in the state each of the last three years, placing second as a freshman in 2011 before edging Leavitt 7-5, 0-6, 6-3 in 2012.
Leavitt, a junior, avenged that loss by defeating Silverman 6-1, 6-1 in last year’s state championship match, and so far this spring, she has helped Falmouth extend its team unbeaten streak to 100 matches as the Yachtsmen’s top singles player.
Another challenger for top singles honors in the girls’ field is Leavitt’s Falmouth teammate Julia Brogan, a sophomore who reached last year’s semifinals before falling to Silverman 6-3, 6-1.
Brogan’s older brother, Justin Brogan, is back to contend for the boys singles title after spending last spring concentrating on the junior circuit.
The Falmouth senior is a two-time state finalist, having dropped three-set championship matches to Patrick Ordway of Waynflete of Portland as a freshman in 2011 and Jordan Friedland of Lincoln Academy in Newcastle in 2012.
Brogan, who plans to continue his tennis career at Tufts University next season, could face his biggest challenge to this year’s crown from within the Falmouth boys tennis program.
Classmate Brendan McCarthy, the Yachtsmen’s second-seeded singles player, reached last year’s state final before bowing to Friedland 6-3, 6-0.
Isaac Salas, a junior from Waynflete who advanced to last year’s quarterfinals, is another contender.
Regional qualifying competition will be held at five locations statewide, with Region 1 (northern Maine) at Caribou High School on Friday, and the other four regions scheduled for play Saturday, with Region 2 (eastern Maine) based at Bangor High School, Region 3 (central Maine) split between Cony High School of Augusta (boys) and Mount Ararat School in Topsham (girls), Region 4 (western Maine) at Lewiston High School and Region 5 (southern Maine) divided between two Portland locations, Waynflete School (boys) and Deering High School (girls).
Top finishers in the qualifying rounds advance to the Rounds of 48 and 32 scheduled for Friday, May 30, at Colby College in Waterville. The qualification breakdown by region to fill the field of 48 players in boys and girls divisions is the following: Region 1 (4 players each), Region 2 (11), Region 3 (8), Region 4 (8) and Region 5 (17).
The Round of 16 and quarterfinals follow on Saturday, May 31, also at Colby, with the semifinals and state championship matches to be held Monday, June 2, at the Wallach Tennis Complex at Bates College.
Top seeds from the northern region are Sara Gilson and Liam Hughes of Presque Isle, while Eastern Maine top seeds are Ashley Woodside of Hampden Academy and Luke Horton of Mount Desert Island.