Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ tennis team and coach Sarah Boeckel show off the program’s first championship trophy in nine years after winning the Class B title Saturday.
For the first time in nine years, Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ tennis team is Class B state champion.
And for the first time in four seasons, Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ squad is not.
Both teams went to Lewiston High School Saturday hoping to bring home a state championship plaque, but only the girls managed to do so.
The Capers girls were once the gold standard in the state, winning 12 of 16 championships between 1985 and 2000, including nine in a row between 1990 and 1998. Cape Elizabeth got back to the pinnacle with a perfect season in 2007, but since then, despite being competitive, couldn’t solve Falmouth or Greely when it mattered.
This spring, the Capers went 9-3 in the regular season, losing only to now-nine time state champion Falmouth (twice) and Yarmouth. Cape Elizabeth earned the No. 2 seed behind Morse in Class B South and dispatched two-time defending Class B champion Greely (5-0) in the quarterfinals, then avenged its regular season loss with a 5-0 win over Yarmouth in the semifinals.
Last Thursday, at Bates College, the Capers met surprising No. 8 York in the regional final and punched their state final ticket with a 5-0 victory.
Liv Clifford beat Mia Briggs at first singles (6-1, 6-0), Katie Gilman was victorious over Sarah Carley at No. 2 singles (6-1, 6-2) and Erin Whitcomb defeated Elizabeth Spiller at third singles (6-1, 6-2). Cape Elizabeth’s first doubles tandem of Maddie Bowe and Sarah O’Connor defeated Jenna Healy and Maggie Schofield, 6-2, 6-2, and Taylor Hansen and Emelie Jarquin won their second doubles match, 6-1, 6-1, over Robyn Jutras and Sophia Eytel.
The state meet was a little more challenging against Camden Hills, but the Capers prevailed, 4-1.
Clifford won her first singles matchup, 6-2, 6-0, over Jana Spieker. Gilman defeated Katie Vannorsdall, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 2 singles. Whitcombe downed Naomi Landry, 6-2, 6-2, at third singles. Bowe and O’Connor were 6-2, 6-1 winners over Kelsie Merrill and Kassie Krul at first doubles. The Windjammers did take a point at No. 2 doubles where Hansen and Jarquin were defeated by Vivian Priestly and Charlotte Messer, 6-7 (3), 4-6.
“It was a great win,” said Capers coach Sarah Boeckel. “The girls were playing their best tennis when they needed to. We’ve been building all season to be more aggressive in points. Having the confidence to hit winners, not just waiting for the other team to make a mistake. We were also really lucky to have a great assistant, Ben Putnam, who worked with the doubles teams, and that really helped raise their level of play. All the girls played with confidence, as if they’ve been to the state finals before. I’m sure they were nervous, but they didn’t show it.”
Cape Elizabeth, which finished 13-3, will lose four of its top seven players to graduation, but will be strong again in 2017 when it looks to go back-to-back for the first time this century.
“I think we’ll still be very solid (next year),” Boeckel said. “We still have our number 1 and 2 singles players and a great group of girls to fill the open spots.”
Cape Elizabeth’s boys were 10-2 in the regular season and finished third in Class B South. The Capers blanked No. 6 Yarmouth (5-0) in the quarterfinals and won at No. 2 Morse (4-1) in the semifinals.
At last Thursday’s regional final in Lewiston, the Capers met up with No. 5 York and held on for a 3-2 triumph.
Cape Elizabeth won both doubles matches, as Declan McCormick and Wyatt Newhall beat Chris D’Aquila and Jack Welch, 6-4, 6-0, at first doubles and Carter Brock and Matt Galvin rallied to edge Thomas Donnelly and Ben Duffy, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, at No. 2 doubles.
Ted Hall lost his second singles match to Dinon Hughes, 6-3, 0-6, 1-6, and Jimmy Salerno was beaten by James Peter at No. 3 singles, 3-6, 4-6, but Michael Mills, at first singles, downed Jackson Grimes, 6-0, 6-0, to provide the winning margin.
That sent the Capers to the state match yet again, to face Camden Hills Saturday.
Cape Elizabeth was 16-5 all-time in state finals entering the match, but its luck ran out.
Mills again won at first singles, 6-2, 6-1, over Matt Morse and McCormick and Newhall won their first doubles match, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, over Colby Arau and Alex Forcillo, but the Capers couldn’t get a third point.
Hall dropped a 6-3, 0-6, 1-6, decision to Luke Burstein at second singles, Salerno fell, 2-6, 6-7 (2) to Josiah Krul at third singles and Brock and Matt Galvin lost their second doubles match, 4-6, 3-6, to Shawn Albertson and Josh Pitcairn.
Cape Elizabeth finished 13-3.
“The season was great,” said longtime Capers coach Andy Strout. “We achieved everything except the final prize. We got beat by a better team on that day.”
Scarborough’s girls’ team also had its title dream dashed last week. The Red Storm, who went 12-0 in the regular season and earned the No. 2 seed behind Falmouth in Class A South, eliminated No. 7 Cheverus (5-0) and third-ranked Gorham (3-2) to face the Yachtsmen in the regional final last Thursday.
Falmouth extended its match win streak to 140, but Scarborough didn’t make it easy.
The Red Storm got a point at second doubles, as Anna Driscoll and Brielle Hardy defeated Annie Gott and Mia Cooney, 7-5, 6-4. Kaicee Flaherty and Caitlin Merrill gave Amanda Watson and Mary Hyland a run at No. 1 doubles, but lost, 3-6, 2-6. Megan Nathanson made state singles champion Julia Brogan work at first singles before falling, 2-6, 3-6. Emily Keenan lost her second singles match, 0-6, 1-6, to Caroline Ray and Bryce Nitchman was defeated, 1-6, 1-6, by Kate Kelley at No. 3 singles.
Scarborough’s season ended at 14-1.