In a seemingly annual rite of spring, the Cape Elizabeth boys’ tennis team won yet another Class B state championship Saturday.
The Capers capped a 14-2 campaign (marred only by a pair of losses to Class A champion Falmouth) with a 5-0 regional final victory over Yarmouth and a 5-0 state match win over Camden Hills last week.
Cape Elizabeth had beaten the Clippers, 4-1, in the regular season finale May 27, but in the rematch, played at the Racquet and Fitness Center in Portland due to poor weather, took all five points, in straight sets.
Gabriel Torres beat Braden Becker at first singles, 6-0, 6-1. Eli Breed was pushed, but survived Chandler Smith at No. 2 singles, 7-5, 6-4. Luke Gilman blanked Ben Vigue at number three singles, 6-0, 6-0. The first doubles tandem of Jack Hall and Ethan Murphy handled Rhys Eddy and Jackson Clark, 6-1, 7-5, and Jack Tierney and Connor Sullivan at No. 2 doubles beat Wes Crawford and Devin Shields-Auble, 6-4, 6-1.
That sent Cape Elizabeth to the state match for the 18th time since 1985 and for the 15th time, the Capers prevailed.
Facing Camden Hills, a squad Cape Elizabeth beat in the 2003, 2004 and 2010 state matches (the Windjammers downed the Capers in 2005), a relatively easy win resulted again.
Torres won at first singles, 6-1, 6-1, over Austin Pohlman. Breed only dropped one game in a 6-0, 6-1 triumph over Matt Moore at No. 2 singles and Gilman topped them both by dominating Josiah Krul, 6-0, 6-0, at third singles.
Doubles was much closer.
Hall and Murphy downed Josiah Simko and Alex Forcillo in a three-set thriller, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5. Tierney and Sullivan survived James Annis and Colby Arau, 7-5, 7-5.
And that put a wrap on another championship season.
“Last year was kinda a given, with not much coaching going on, just keeping focus on the ultimate goal, but this year, I actually had to coach, after losing five out of the top seven players and with only our second doubles team coming back, it looked to many as a rebuilding year,” said longtime Cape Elizabeth coach Andy Strout. “We were very fortunate to have Gabriel from Brazil as our number one. He had a great year. Following him were two of the best second and third singles players in the state.”
While Cape Elizabeth will lose several key contributors to graduation, don’t be surprised if they’re right back in the very same position next June.
On top of Class B.
“Yearly, I have a personal goal to give future top seven players varsity match play so confidence can build for the future,” Strout said. “This paid off for my doubles teams this year. Hopefully it will pay off for next years well, as we’ll be losing four out of our top seven.”
Cape Elizabeth’s Eli Breed returns a shot during his win at second singles at Saturday’s Class B state championship match versus Camden Hills.
Cape Elizabeth’s first doubles tandem Jack Hall (white hat) and Ethan Murphy celebrate a point during their victory. The Capers won the match, 5-0, to repeat as Class B champions.