Falmouth tennis teams win it all again; Freeport boys fall just short

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Falmouth’s Grace Dimick, left, and Maddy Joyce celebrate after winning first doubles at Saturday’s Class A state match. The Yachtsmen eked out a 3-2 victory over Lewiston to win their 11th consecutive championship and extend their match win streak to 173.

Freeport’s boys’ tennis team shows off its Class B South regional championship trophy last Thursday. The Falcons won a regional crown for the first time in program history before losing, 3-2, to Caribou in the state final match.

Three Forecaster Country tennis teams traveled to Lewiston Saturday seeking state championships.

Two came home with hardware.

The other fell just short, but enjoyed the finest season in program history.

All in all, when you include Falmouth Nick Forester’s boys’ individual title, it was one again a banner tennis season in these parts.

One more makes 11 and 173

Falmouth’s girls’ squad has worn the bulls-eye for over a decade and this spring, the book on the Yachtsmen was that they might just be vulnerable.

Vulnerable perhaps, but not beatable.

After a 10th straight 12-0 regular season, Falmouth, the top seed in Class A South, downed No. 9 Windham (5-0) and No. 5 Scarborough (4-1) to advance to last Thursday’s regional final against upstart No. 6 seed Portland.

The Yachtsmen would prevail by a 4-1 score. Meredith Kelley lost, 6-7 (3), 2-6, to Lauren Paradise at first singles, but Sara Fallon won her second singles match, 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (8), Alston Armstrong took her third singles match, 6-1, 6-1, and Falmouth’s first doubles of team of Grace Dimick and Maddy Joyce (6-1, 6-2) and the second doubles tandem of Emma Cohen and Sydney Pearl (6-2, 6-3) prevailed as well.

The state match against Lewiston would be much tougher.

Armstrong took care of business at third singles, winning 6-0, 6-2, and Dimick and Joyce finished undefeated on the season at first doubles, winning, 7-5, 7-5, but Fallon lost, 4-6, 4-6, to Julia Svor at second singles and at second doubles, Cohen and Pearl lost, 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, to Amy Sperandio and Jill Pelletier, putting the state match and Falmouth’s win streak in the hands of Kelley at first singles.

Kelley dropped the first set to Abby Svor, 1-6, but Kelley rose to the occasion, winning the second set, 6-2, and the third, 6-1, to give the Yachtsmen (16-0) the match, 3-2, their fifth straight Class A state title, their 11th consecutive crown overall, their 44th straight postseason win (the last loss was a 4-1 Western B semifinal round loss to York June 2, 2007) and their 173rd match victory, leaving a 3-2 setback to Waynflete May 2, 2008 as its most recent.

“My biggest thing is motivation, having (my teammates) cheering me on,” Kelley said. “The pressure really helped. It was more the state championship than the streak, for sure.”

“We don’t talk about (the streak), we give them zero pressure,” Falmouth acting coach Lori Poulin said. “It’s just not even a factor for us.”

More Falmouth hardware

Falmouth’s boys, meanwhile, also went 16-0 and won the championship, albeit with a little less stress.

The Yachtsmen, ranked first in Class A South, downed No. 8 Gorham, 5-0, in the quarterfinals and knocked out fifth-seed Thornton Academy, 5-0, in the semifinals, to set up a regional final round date against No. 2 Portland last Thursday.

Falmouth got decisive wins from Forester at first singles (6-0, 6-1), Alex Klemperer at No. 2 singles (6-1, 6-2) and Matthew Ray at third singles (6-1, 6-1), while Matt Adamowicz and Calvin Spencer won at first doubles (6-0, 6-3) and Jake Leavitt and Nick Shapiro eked out a 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (10) victory at second doubles.

“I was very pleased,” said longtime Yachtsmen coach Bob McCully. “I knew (Portland) had good doubles.”

Falmouth then won its fourth Class A crown in five seasons and 11th championship overall, 5-0, over Camden Hills in Saturday’s state final match.

Forester rolled at first singles, 6-1, 6-0. At second singles, Klemperer won by a 6-0, 6-4 score and at third singles, Ray won, 6-3, 6-3.

“We knew it was going to be tight,” Forester said. “We didn’t really feel like we had it until we won three of the matches.”

Adamowicz and Spencer were pushed at first singles, winning, 7-6 (2) and 6-3. Leavitt and Shapiro had to go to a tiebreaker as well, but won at second singles, 7-5, 7-6 (4).

“We really buckled down when we needed to,” said Falmouth Coach Bob McCully, who notched his 11th state title. “It was very competitive.”

Quite a ride

Freeport’s boys’ squad entered the season having never advanced past the Class B South semifinals and having not won 10 or more games in a season since 2006.

This spring, the Falcons raised the bar to an unprecedented level.

Freeport went 9-3 in the regular season and as the number two seed in Class B South, ousted No. 7 York (5-0) in the quarterfinals and third-ranked Yarmouth (4-1) in the semifinals to get to the regional final, its first appearance in that round at any level since the 2001 Western C Final, where it met and eliminated perennial powerhouse Cape Elizabeth, the No. 5 seed, 4-1.

Wes Goodwin won, 6-0, 6-0, at first singles, Clay Canterbury was a 6-1, 6-0, winner at second singles, Liam Gould took a 6-2, 6-2 victory at third singles and Aaron Rusiecki and Sullivan Smith prevailed, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Evan McKittrick and TJ Whelan lost at second doubles, 6-1, 4-6, 5-7, but the Falcons still made history.

“It has been 18 years to get back here and to reach the goal of making it to states and it is hard to believe,” said Freeport coach Jay Harper. “This team talked at the beginning of the year about winning it all. They stayed together and played together.”

That win sent the Falcons to Lewiston for the Class B state final Saturday against undefeated Caribou, which had just enough to beat the Falcons, 3-2, and end their season at 12-4. 

Goodwin won, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 10-6, at first singles and Canterbury was a 6-1, 6-2 winner at second singles, but Gould lost, 3-6, 3-6, to Gabe Rand at third singles, Rusiecki and Smith fell, 6-7 (7), 3-6, to Bailey Griffeth and Sawyer Deprey at first doubles and McKittrick and Whelan lost, 2-6, 5-7, to Emerson Duplissie-Cyr and Seth Biedelman at No. 2 doubles.

“A lot of the play came down to that first set, with my first doubles having several chances to win that set before falling in a tiebreaker, and the other team had momentum and really capitalized,” Freeport coach Jay Harper said. “Then at three, Gould played someone similar to him, and that was a tough loss. We were hoping for someone to turn it around and get us to a third set. Caribou was just better than us today.

“There is a bright future and next year we will be loaded, with a good group of juniors coming back and some good freshmen. We could be back here next year.”

Press Herald staff writer Glenn Jordan, Sun Journal staff writer Nathan Fournier and Times Record staff writer Bob Conn contributed to this story.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.