The tennis season has come to an end for local teams.
Wednesday afternoon, the last remaining squad, the Scarborough boys, took part in the regional final for the second year in a row, but again fell short, losing to top-ranked Windham, 4-1.
Cape Elizabeth had the most agonizing loss of them all, when it lost 3-2 at Falmouth in the Western B quarterfinals after holding six different match points, but failing to close it out.
South Portland was a quarterfinal round loser at Marshwood.
On the girls’ side, Scarborough reached the Western A semifinals, but lost to Gorham. South Portland was ousted in the quarterfinals by top-ranked and eventual regional champion Portland.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth also lost to Falmouth, in the semifinals.
Scarborough emerged as a top contender in 2007, reaching the semifinals before losing to Windham. Last year, the Red Storm got to the regional final for the first time, but were upset by Cheverus.
This spring, Scarborough posted a 10-2 mark, losing only to Marshwood and Windham, and earned the No. 2 seed in Western A. After downing No. 7 Thornton Academy 5-0 in the quarterfinals, the Red Storm avenged their loss to the Hawks with a 5-0 semifinal round triumph. Scarborough then had a chance to do the same against the Eagles, but wasn’t as fortunate.
The Red Storm did get a 6-1, 7-5 victory from Nick Tolman at second singles, but first and third singles and both doubles teams were defeated in straight sets. Scarborough’s season came to an end at 12-3.
“It was pretty close at the beginning,” said Red Storm coach Craig McDonald. “They’re very strong at doubles. I thought we had a chance at No. 1, but they’re just too strong. Nick won his match. He’s probably the best athlete in Scarborough. One of the mentally toughest athletes I’ve had. We’ve come a long way. We had one win my first two years.”
“We have most of our kids coming back, but Windham does too. Hopefully we’ll meet again next year.”
South Portland, after going 7-5 in the regular season and earning the No. 6 seed, lost 4-1 at No. 3 Marshwood in the quarterfinals to wind up 7-6.
Cape Elizabeth also fell in the quarterfinals, but in much more painful fashion.
The Capers went 9-3 in the regular season, but only earned the No. 6 seed, necessitating a trip to No. 3 Falmouth (the three-time defending regional champion) in the quarterfinals. The teams split 3-2 decisions in the regular season and last met in the playoffs last spring in the semifinals (a 4-1 triumph for the Yachtsmen).
Elizabeth won first and third singles, while Falmouth took second singles and the No. 2 doubles match.
The match then came down to an epic three-set battle at No. 1
doubles. The Yachtsmen’s Jack Coster and Chris Moody beat the Capers’
Graham Nichols and Mike Takach 6-2 in the first set, but Nichols and Takach won the
second, 2-6. The third set went back-and-forth with Falmouth winning
the first three games, Cape Elizabeth the next three, the Yachtsmen two
in a row, followed by two straight by the Capers. Coster and Moody put
themselves on the brink of victory when they went up 6-5, but Nichols
and Takach won the next game to necessitate a tiebreaker, with the
first team to seven points (winning by at least two) earning the crown.
There, Nichols and Takach appeared to seize control as they raced to
a 6-1 lead, putting Coster and Moody on the brink of defeat, but the
tandem wasn’t finished, rising off the deck to win five straight points
to make it 6-6. Again, Nichols and Takach got to match point when they
went up 7-6, but Coster and Moody saved their best for last, winning
the next three to end the classic with a 9-7 tiebreaker victory.
“We had it in our grasp, but a great Falmouth team hung in and won a squeaker,” said longtime Capers coach Andy Strout.
Cape Elizabeth hopes to bounce back and make another run in 2010.
“We have plenty of depth, but the loss of our No. 1 player will be a tough position to fill,” Strout said.
No luck for girls
The girls’ story featured Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough going the deepest.
In Western B, the Capers finished 8-4 and earned the No. 4 seed. After squeaking past No. 5 Yarmouth 3-2 in the quarterfinals, Cape Elizabeth went to undefeated powerhouse and top-ranked Falmouth for the semifinals and was unceremoniously ousted, 5-0, to finish 9-5.
“We ended with a familiar result against Falmouth,” said Strout, who also coaches the girls. “I’m very happy with our year. We were second-best to a great team. Next year will certainly be a rebuilding one. The loss of five of seven players will be tough. It will be a rebuilding process.”
In Western A, Scarborough went 11-1 in the regular season (losing only to undefeated Portland) and finished third in the standings. After eliminating No. 6 Westbrook, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, the Red Storm were sent packing in a tough match at No. 2 Gorham, 3-2, ending their year at 12-2.
“We played well and I was very proud of how the girls banded together and played with pride,” said Scarborough coach Lincoln MacIsaac. “Allie Pastore and Devin Cain stepped to the plate both during the match and during the week leading up to it. We were faced with some adversity and all the girls pulled together to work through it. This team deserves credit for being fighters and for refusing to let the circumstances get them down.”
South Portland was 6-6 in the regular season and earned the No. 8 spot. After edging No. 9 Thornton Academy 3-2 in the preliminary round, the Red Riots were bounced from the playoffs by top-ranked Portland, 5-0, to finish 7-7.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com.