It took five years, but the Cape Elizabeth boys’ tennis team is back where it feels it always belongs, the state championship match.
Wednesday afternoon at Bates College in Lewiston, the third-ranked Capers completed an impressive regional playoff run with a 5-0 win over No. 6 York to capture the Western Class B title, setting up a state match against either Camden Hills or John Bapst.
Cape Elizabeth, which went 9-3 in the regular season, good for the fifth seed in the region, beat No. 4 Mountain Valley and top-ranked Gardiner by 5-0 scores to advance to the regional final.
“The season went about what we thought,” said Capers longtime coach Andy Strout. “I knew York was going to be a veteran group so it was no surprise to meet them in the final. We were fortunate not to meet Falmouth or York until the final.”
Cape Elizabeth will play for the Class B crown Saturday at 4 p.m., at Colby College in Waterville. The Capers lost to Camden, 4-1, in the 2005 state final. Cape Elizabeth beat the Windjammers in the 2003 and 2004 state matches. The Capers have never faced John Bapst.
“We have two freshman and a junior at singles,” said Strout. “Hopefully the doubles experience from last year will help us pull it out.”
In Western A, Scarborough wasn’t as fortunate, as it lost, 4-1, to defending regional champion Windham in the regional final, marking the second straight spring the Red Storm’s season was ended by the Eagles. Scarborough went 11-1 in the regular season, losing only to the Eagles, 4-1, on April 26. As the No. 2 seed, the Red Storm eliminated No. 7 Thornton Academy (4-1) and No. 4 Cheverus (5-0) to advance to the regional final where Alex Henny earned Scarborough’s lone point with a win at third singles.
“We lost to great team in Windham that will probably win their first Class A state championship and stop Lewiston’s consecutive state championship streak at seven,” said Red Storm coach Craig McDonald. “We had our chances in the match, but could not capitalize. Number two singles Tim Przybylowicz was leading, 5-4, in the first set before losing the next three games and eventually losing the match, 5-7, 6-1. Second doubles team Andrew Talbot and E.J. Conceison and first singles player Adam Saltz all held leads midway through the second set, but could not hold on to send it to a third and deciding set.”
Scarborough will be affected by graduation, but this program should be right back in the hunt in 2011.
“We lose four seniors this year from the starting lineup,” said McDonald. “Henny and doubles players Dennis Liu and Andrew Talbot return to lead the team next year. We have great depth in our sophomore class which should give us another chance of making a strong run in the playoffs in 2011.”
On the girls’ side, Scarborough made it to the Western A semis before falling to defending regional champion Portland, 4-1.
“You can’t say anything but great things about these seniors,” said Red Storm coach Lincoln MacIsaac. “They all stepped up. It’s disappointing, but it shows we can be competitive and bring a lot of players and not just one.”
Scarborough loses four of its top seven to graduation.
“We feel comfortable heading into next year,” MacIsaac said. “It’s tough to lose these seniors.”
South Portland was ousted, 5-0, by the Bulldogs in the quarterfinal round.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth lost a tough 3-2 decision to Yarmouth in the quarterfinals.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org