Falmouth, NYA girls' tennis champions again
The second Saturday in June has become a day of celebration for the Falmouth and North Yarmouth Academy girls' tennis teams.
This time around, the Yachtsmen completed their unblemished season by winning their 16th straight 5-0 decision, defeating Caribou for their third consecutive Class B championship.
The Panthers, meanwhile, made it four straight Class C titles with a 4-1 win over Dexter, competing their season at 15-1.
Falmouth's roster is loaded from top to bottom and the Yachtsmen have excelled for several seasons. This year's squad might have been the best of all as it didn't lose a set until the final match.
Falmouth beat Fryeburg, Yarmouth and Oak Hill by 5-0 scores to win the regional title, then downed Caribou Saturday to capture a fifth championship in six seasons.
Falmouth got straight set wins from both doubles teams. Emma Wilberg and Amanda Gallagher were 6-1, 6-4 victors and Abby Payson and Steffi Rothweiler rolled, 6-3, 6-1. Libby Voccola dropped just one game in a 6-0, 6-1 victory at third singles and Annie Criscione dropped just two in a 6-1, 6-1 triumph at second singles. First singles standout Analise Kump did become the first Yachtsmen player to lose a set this season, but still rallied to win her match, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4), to cap the 5-0 triumph.
"It was great," said Falmouth coach Sandra Stone. "I have two freshmen who haven't done it before and two sophomores. It was huge for Emma and Amanda to win three times in four years. We had a lot of team spirit.
"They key was first singles. Analise had to fight off match points, forced a tiebreaker and won playing with an injured back. It was a slugfest. Singles went extremely well and doubles went very well."
The Yachtsmen finished 16-0 and now have a 45-match win streak.
"This season was just unbelievable," Stone said. "It felt like we had the 'Golden touch' and couldn't do anything wrong."
Get used to Falmouth celebrations as the Yachtsmen lose their accomplished top doubles team of Gallagher and Wilberg, but everyone else in the top seven returns.
"I feel good about next year with our three singles players at the top," Stone said. "We should be very strong assuming everyone can stay healthy."
One more makes four
NYA has now won eight Class C championships in 12 seasons. The Panthers won every regular season match, but one (a 5-0 setback at Falmouth on May 14). NYA earned the No. 3 seed for the Western C tournament and had no trouble with No. 6 Mt. Abram (5-0) in the quarterfinals. After surviving No. 2 Winthrop (3-2) in the semis, the Panthers punched their state final ticket with a 5-0 regional final victory over rival and No. 4 seed Waynflete.
Saturday, NYA met Dexter for the first time in the state match and rode its powerhouse singles trio to victory.
No. 1 Thu-Trang Ho, a senior, didn't drop a game in her victory. Junior Anna Jaeger, at second singles, who played No. 1 for part of the season when Ho was out with injury, triumphed, 6-1, 6-0, and sophomore Sarah Jordan was a 6-1, 6-1 winner. The first doubles team of senior Emily Mitchell and junior Charlotte Briggs won their match, 6-0, 6-4. Sophomore Ally Morrison and junior Alison Znamierowski fell at second singles, 1-6, 2-6.
"I know that we were very fortunate to have had all three of last year's singles players return for this season," said Panthers coach Lorena Coffin. "Having those experienced players certainly helped us defend our title this year, but our success also came from all the girls playing well, and being focused throughout their playoff matches."
Ho and Mitchell will graduate, big losses for sure, but NYA will be in very good shape in its quest for a fifth title in succession in 2011.
"Next year, we should have five of our starting seven return, so I believe that the we'll be a competitive team again," Coffin said.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org