The Falmouth tennis program keeps raising the bar to unrivaled heights.
While the Yachtsmen boys’ and girls’ teams are gearing up to win first-ever Class A state championships, one representative from each took center stage at the palpitating state singles tournament.
Brendan McCarthy, the second seed, became the first Falmouth boy to win a singles title since Brian Patterson in 1995 and he was joined by Olivia Leavitt, the top seed, who repeated as girls’ champion, only after outlasting Brunswick standout Maisie Silverman in a three-set epic.
McCarthy’s run to the title included wins over John Bapst’s Zicong Ding (6-0, 6-0), Waterville’s Zack Disch (6-0, 6-0), Cape Elizabeth’s Gabe Torres, the No. 10 seed (6-1, 6-2), and Waynflete’s Isaac Salas, who was ranked third (6-3, 6-2).
“I tried to keep it away from (Salas’) forehand, which is his big weapon,” McCarthy said, of his win in the “final four.” “I was able to stay alive and wait for a ball I could attack on.”
That set up a championship match with Mt. Ararat’s Nick Mathieu, who was the No. 4 seed. Mathieu beat Cape Elizabeth’s Luke Gilman, 6-2, 6-1, in his semifinal.
McCarthy once again rolled, winning the first set, 6-1, and the second, 6-2, to take home the championship.
“I’m definitely pretty excited,” McCarthy said.
Leavitt, meanwhile, didn’t drop a game in her first two matches, against Ellsworth’s Lily Watanabe and Cheverus’ Caty Galligan. In the quarterfinals, Leavitt ousted eighth-ranked Lena Rich of North Yarmouth Academy, 6-1, 6-1. That sent her to Monday’s semifinals, where she took care of fourth-ranked Colleen O’Donnell of Waterville in quick fashion, 6-0, 6-0.
The finale would not be easy, however, as Silverman, the 2012 champion, took the first set, 4-6. Leavitt refused to go quietly, however, winning the second set, 6-2, then turning it on in the third to take the match, 6-3.
“Fitness was a big key in both the second and third sets,” Leavitt said. “When I was down and I got that long point where I got three balls that were really far away, that was like a message, like, ‘I’m here, I’m fit, and I’m not going to give up.’
“In the end, on match point, I was more calm. Last year, I had five of six match points. This year, I’ve been here before now, and obviously she has, too.”
Leavitt’s the first repeat girls’ champion since Waynflete’s Christine Ordway in 2006-07.
While the Falmouth tandem stole the show, other Forecaster Country players advanced deep into the tournament.
Falmouth’s Julia Brogan, ranked fourth in the girls’ field, eliminated St. Dom’s Callie Greco, 6-0, 6-0, and Portland’s Margot Andreasen, 6-2, 6-1, before falling to O’Donnell in the quarterfinals, 2-6, 4-6.
Teammate Caroline Ray, seeded 11th, was a 6-0, 6-1 winner over NYA’s Marina Stam, then was ousted, 2-6, 4-6, by sixth-ranked Ashley Woodside of Hampden Academy.
Rich, before losing to Leavitt, beat Alyssa White of Mt. Blue, 6-0, 6-0, and ninth-ranked Ali Stankiewicz of Brunswick, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
NYA’s Stam was a 6-2, 6-4, winner over Brunswick’s Leah Soloway in the first round, then was eliminated by Ray.
Greely’s Katherine Pare lost to Cheverus’ Galligan, 4-6, 1-6, in the first round.
On the boys’ side, NYA’s Bryce Tetreault made a nice run, beating Caribou’s Brandon Cyr, 6-2, 6-1, in the first round, then upsetting No. 8 Cameron Butler of Oceanside, 6-1, 6-1, in the second and ninth-ranked Sam Bolduc of Bangor, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, in the Round of 16 before he was finally ousted by Gilman, 2-6, 1-6, in the quarterfinals.
Falmout’s Aidan McGrory, seeded fifth, was a 6-0, 6-2, victor over Windham’s Jordan Crowley and a 6-1, 7-5, winner over Thornton Academy’s Victor Menezes, but he fell to Mathieu in the quarterfinals, 6-7 (3), 3-6.
Yarmouth’s Braden Becker ousted Hampden Academy’s Oakley Kilgour, 6-2, 6-4, then fell to Salas in the Round of 16, 1-6, 0-6.
Falmouth’s Justin Brogan was the top seed, but he had to retire in his second round match, trailing, 2-4, against Gilman.
It’s hard to imagine the team tournament producing as much excitement, but local squads will give it a shot.
Falmouth’s girls take a 12-0 record, a 105-match win streak and burning hunger for a seventh straight state title into the postseason. The Yachtsmen, who have won the past six Class B titles, are in Class A this spring, due to increased enrollment, and earned the No. 2 seed behind Portland. Falmouth will face either No. 7 Sanford (8-4) or No. 10 South Portland (4-8) in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Greely earned the top seed in Western B at 11-1. The Rangers will play host to No. 8 Yarmouth (6-7 after its 4-1 preliminary round win over No. 9 York Monday) in the quarterfinals. During the regular season, Greely beat the Clippers twice by 4-1 scores. Freeport just missed the playoffs after a 5-7 regular season. The Falcons wound up 11th in Western B, but only 10 teams qualified.
In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy finished sixth at 7-5, but drew the daunting task of going to No. 3 Waynflete (10-2), the three-time defending state champion, in the quarterfinals. The Flyers swept the regular season matches, 4-1 and 5-0.
On the boys’ side, Falmouth’s 12-0 record was only good for second behind 12-0 Deering in Western A. The Yachtsmen open with a quarterfinal versus either No. 7 Marshwood (7-5) or No. 10 Gorham (5-7).
In Western B, Yarmouth, following a bounce-back season, earned the No. 3 seed with a 9-3 record. The Clippers hosted No. 6 Freeport (4-8) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. Yarmouth beat the Falcons twice this year, 3-2 and 4-1. Greely wound up ninth at 2-10, but only eight teams qualified for the postseason.
In Western C, NYA earned the No. 7 seed after a 6-6 campaign. The Panthers were at No. 2 Dirigo (9-2) for the quarterfinals.
Looking ahead, the team semifinals are Saturday, with the higher seeds hosting. The regional finals are Thursday, June 12 at Bates College in Lewiston. The state finals are Saturday, June 14, also at Bates.
Sun Journal Sports Editor Justin Pelletier contributed to this story.