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Waynflete sweeps Class C tennis titles again; Portland girls fall one point shy in Class A

Sports

Waynflete sweeps Class C tennis titles again; Portland girls fall one point shy in Class A

The Waynflete tennis program continues to run roughshod over Class C.

Last week, the Flyers boys made it six state titles in a row, while the girls won their third in succession.

The boys, the No. 4 seed in Western C, outlasted No. 6 North Yarmouth Academy in the regional final last Wednesday, 4-1, as Patrick Ordway, Isaac Salas and Ben Shapiro all won singles matches and the second doubles tandem of Jon Tao and Peter Michalakes was also victorious.

Saturday, in a state match moved indoors in Hampden, Waynflete collected another piece of hardware with a 5-0 triumph over George Stevens Academy, as the Flyers finished 13-3 with their 10th Class C title. Ordway, Salas and Shapiro all rolled in straight sets in singles, while both doubles teams (Tao and Clancy Mitchell at No. 1 and Stephen Epstein and Misha Linnehand) also prevailed in straight sets, although both matches were competitive.

"There is an old saying that the toughest part of any job is showing up for work on time and that may have been our biggest challenge in winning the state title," said Waynflete coach Jeff Madore. "Friday, the day of graduation, we learned the team would need to be in Bangor at 8 a.m. the following morning for the final match. With three senior starters and only one morning person on the team, that didn't sound like a good fit. Somehow, parents got them to Bangor on time and they played well. We celebrated with an early lunch, then drove home for an afternoon nap."

The Waynflete girls, ranked sixth after a 7-5 regular season, capped their regional run last Wednesday with a 4-1 win over NYA, as Phoebe Suva and Allie Armstrong won at second and third singles and the first (Abby Cough and Sophie Raffel) and second (Diana McLeod and Abbie Hinchman) doubles teams rolled without losing a single game.

"The road to the championship match had some unexpected twists and turns, but pieces fell into place just in time to defend our title," said Waynflete coach Linda Cohen. "We had split with (NYA) during the season, so the regional final was shaping up to be a good one. Sadly, NYA did not have their complete starting varsity lineup due to some players leaving for a previously planned trip."

Saturday, against Eastern B champion Van Buren, the Flyers won again by a 4-1 margin to three-peat (and make it six all-time Class C crowns) with an 11-5 mark. White won, 6-0, 6-2, at first singles, but Suva was pushed at second singles, winning, 6-4, 5-7, 10-7. Armstrong rolled as well and Waynflete split doubles, with Cough and Raffel winning in three sets at first doubles.

The Flyers will be strong again next season.

"We'll start without Phoebe and Abby, shoes that will need filling for sure," Cohen said. "I will have five experienced returning players, Emily White, Allie Armstrong, Sophie Raffel, Nina Flight and Annika Morrill. I have had the pleasure of seeing some of the incoming ninth graders as I coach the middle school team in the fall. There is some young raw talent coming up the ranks. Therein lies the fun of coaching, adjusting the team chemistry to produce success through hard work and fun."

In Class A, Portland improved to 15-0 last Wednesday with a 4-1 win over Scarborough in the regional final. The Bulldogs swept singles, as Annette Denekas, Sophie Hulbert and Margot Andreasen all won in straight sets. The second doubles team of Lily Bruenjes and Alyssa Vaccaro also prevailed, although it took them three sets to do so.

Portland took part in its second ever state match Saturday versus defending champion Brunswick and the Bulldogs came very close to winning it.

Early victories from Andreasen at third singles (6-1, 6-2) and Bruenjes and Vaccaro at second doubles (6-2, 6-4) put Portland on the brink of its first championship, but the Dragons got wins at second singles and rallied for a victory at No. 1 doubles, setting the stage for standout No. 1 singles player Maisie Silverman, the runner-up at the state singles tournament, to dispatch Denekas to give Brunswick the 3-2 victory, ending the Bulldogs' season at 15-1.

"We had an unbelievable season and this team has so much to be proud of," said Portland coach Bonnie Moran. "A 15-1 record, holding on to our SMAA doubles title, a terrific showing in the state singles tournament, with two of our singles players making it to the Round of 16 and one to the Round of 32, the first-ever team sportsmanship award for tennis and the lion's share of the SMAA all-star awards. They are also the most cohesive and supportive team I have ever worked with. It would have been great to cap it off with a state title, but it just wasn't in the cards. It couldn't have been any closer. Despite the pressure, they gave it all they had and no one can ask for more.

 
"We'll dust ourselves off and get right back to it next year. We have a relatively young team. We're graduating Sophie and Lily and we'll certainly miss them, but we have a lot of depth and we'll be very competitive again."

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