Superb tennis continues to be played in the city and it’s very likely that several players and teams will make noise well into June.
With the team regular season nearing its end, individuals began qualifying for the singles tournament last weekend.
In Region 5 boys’ qualifiers, Cheverus’ Will Lenk moved on with wins over Falmouth’s Tommy Bazarian (8-3) and Greely’s Stephen Hayes (4-6, 6-4, 6-1) and three Waynflete standouts also advanced. Top seed Brandon Thompson defeated Ga On Kang of Fryeburg, 8-0, and Yarmouth’s David Olshan, 6-1, 6-0. Second seed Patrick Ordway eliminated Portland’s Ian Kuniholm (who beat Freeport’s Ben Forster, 8-1, in the preliminary round), 8-0, and Scarborough’s Tim Przbylowicz, 6-1, 6-3. Devin Van Dyke, the third seed, was an 8-1 victor over Greely’s Will Hemond and beat South Portland’s Matt Morey, 6-1, 6-0.
Deering’s Jesse Butler survived his first match, downing Thornton Academy’s Tyler Gaylord, 8-6, but fell, 3-6, 0-6, to Yarmouth’s Ben Robinson, ranked eighth. Portland’s Alexander Jordan defeated Thornton Academy’s Kent Dao, 8-4, then lost, 1-6, 0-6, to Cape Elizabeth’s Matthew Gilman, the No. 9 seed.
Cheverus’ Connor O’Neil fell, 1-8, to Cape Elizabeth’s Calvin Alden. Portland’s Karl Fisher lost, 0-8, to No. 5 Nate Johnson of Windham. Deering’s Noah Finberg was a 1-8 loser to Marshwood’s Tyler Billipp. Teammate Jesse Barkin fell, 0-8, to No. 7 Nick Polko of Falmouth. Cheverus’ David Woodbury was eliminated by No. 1 Alex Henny of Scarborough, 0-8.
On the girls’ side, McAuley’s Addie Devine and Paige Hickey, Portland’s Liza Iselborn and Mary Moran and Waynflete’s Kaitlyn Thompson all advanced.
Devine was an 8-0 winner over Deering’s Jackie Huynh, then downed Scarborough’s Sarah Moody, 6-0, 6-0. Hickey defeated Marshwood’s Ariel Kaplan in a walkover, then eliminated York’s Emily Campbell, 6-0, 6-2. Iselborn defeated Kennebunk’s Hannah Rush, 8-3, and Cheverus’ Abby Harrison (who had beaten Bridget Olson of Marshwood in a walkover), 6-2, 7-6 (4). Moran advanced by virtue of wins over Biddeford’s Alyson Roy, 8-1, and Windham’s Lindsey Dyer, 6-1, 6-1. Thompson downed Yarmouth’s Smythe Eddy, 8-1, and Bonny Eagle’s Erynn Brayley, 6-1, 6-1.
McAuley’s Nicole Connolly won her first match, 8-4, over Waynflete’s Grace High, then fell, 2-6, 1-6, to Gorham’s Natalie Egbert. Portland’s Corey Carmichael defeated South Portland’s Amanda Junkins, 9-8 (6), and lost, 2-6, 3-6, to NYA’s Anna Jaeger. Deering’s Jean McCabe was an 8-2 winner over Mary Doehler, then lost, 0-6, 0-6, to Falmouth’s Libby Voccola.
Deering’s Georgia Hutchins was eliminated by Falmouth’s Annie Criscione, 0-8. Waynflete’s Maddie High lost, 0-8, to Gorham’s Hannah Shorty. Cheverus’ Natasha Spellman lost by walkover to Jaeger. Teammate Maria Cianchette was eliminated by Dyer, 5-8.
The singles tournament continues Friday, May 28, with the Round of 32. The Round of 16 and the quarterfinals are the following day and the semifinals and championship matches will be Monday, May 31. Each of those rounds will be held at Bates College in Lewiston.
Turning to team competition, McAuley and Portland’s girls’ squads could be headed for a battle of unbeatens with the top playoff seed on the line.
The Bulldogs, the reigning Western A champs, took an 8-0 record into the week after wins last week over Gorham (3-2), Cheverus (5-0) and Kennebunk (5-0). Portland (which has only surrendered points in one match this year) was a close second to Gorham in the latest Heal Points standings, but will be first if it wins out. After hosting Biddeford Monday, the Bulldogs go to Scarborough Wednesday and play host to South Portland Friday. Then, next Tuesday (May 25), Portland goes to McAuley for the regular season finale.
The Lions were also 8-0 when the week began (third in the standings). They downed Cheverus (5-0), Deering (4-1) and Scarborough (4-1) last week. McAuley looked to make a move when it went to Gorham Monday. Prior to hosting Portland, the Lions are home against Biddeford Wednesday and visit Westbrook Friday.
Last year, the Bulldogs beat the Lions in the regular season, 3-2, then downed them, 4-1, in the regional semifinals.
Other city squads are also in the playoff mix.
Cheverus entered the week 4-4 and fifth in the Heals. The Stags have dropped back-to-back 5-0 decisions to the Lions and Bulldogs and hoped to get back in the win column Monday at Bonny Eagle. Deering was 5-3 (and eighth in Western A) when the week began. The Rams were coming off a 4-1 victory at Sanford.
In Western C, Waynflete lost 5-0 at powerhouse Falmouth last Wednesday, but improved to 6-2 Thursday after a 4-1 victory at York. The Flyers (fourth in the Heals) were home with Greely Monday.
On the boys’ side, Waynflete continues to remind everyone why some consider it the best team in state regardless of class. The two-time defending Class C state champion Flyers (who have a stranglehold on the top spot in the Heals) beat a pair of strong Class B teams last week, Falmouth (5-0) and York (3-2), to improve to 9-0, extending their match win streak to 39. Waynflete finishes the schedule with matches at Greely, Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth.
In Western A, Cheverus is also perfect entering the week. The Stags won, 3-2, at Marshwood Friday to improve to 8-0 on the season (good for second behind defending regional champion Windham in the Heals). Cheverus visits the Eagles in a pivotal affair Wednesday. Deering has won two straight, 4-1 at Portland and 3-2 over visiting Sanford, to improve to 2-6 (15th in the region). The Bulldogs are ninth with a 2-6 mark after losing three straight 4-1 decisions last week (to Cheverus, Deering and Kennebunk).
The team tennis postseason begins June 1 with the preliminary round. The quarterfinals are June 3 and the semis June 5. Each of those rounds will feature the higher seed hosting. The regional finals are Wednesday, June 9, in Lewiston. The state championship matches are Saturday, June 12, at Colby College in Waterville.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com