Just like clockwork, the second Saturday in June once again produced a Class C state championship for the Waynflete boys’ tennis team.
The Flyers capped a sensational campaign with a 5-0 victory over George Stevens Academy at Colby College in Waterville, finishing 15-0 and stretching their three-year match win streak to 45.
The Waynflete girls weren’t able to join in the fun Saturday as their season ended at 12-3 after a 5-0 regional final loss to nemesis North Yarmouth Academy.
In Western A, undefeated, defending regional champion Portland’s quest for a first state championship ended in heartbreak in the regional final with a 3-2 upset loss to Gorham.
Simply the best
Waynflete’s boys entered 2010 expecting to dominate and they didn’t disappoint, losing just four match points all season, a 3-2 home win over Class B champion Cape Elizabeth April 26 and a 3-2 home triumph over Western B runner-up York May 13. Every other foe was vanquished, 5-0.
The Flyers earned the top seed in the region and eliminated No. 4 Madison and No. 3 Hall-Dale by 5-0 scores to earn a state match date with GSA, a team Waynflete beat in the 2002 (3-2), 2006 (5-0) and 2008 (4-1) state matches and lost to, 3-2, in the 2004 state final.
This time around, the Flyers won every match in straight sets and dropped a grand total of 11 games.
Junior standout Brandon Thompson, the state individual boys’ champion, won his match, 6-0, 6-0. Freshman Patrick Ordway was a 6-1, 6-1 winner at No. 2 singles and senior Devin Van Dyke rolled, 6-1, 6-2 at third singles.
The first doubles tandem of junior Eric Ordway and senior Ross Cummings got a challenge in the first set, winning, 6-3, then wrapped it up, 6-1. Senior Nate Niles and Sam Cleaves were 6-0, 6-2 winners at second doubles.
“This was certainly a good one,” said Waynflete coach Jeff Madore. “It’s great to see our five seniors go out on top. There were a lot of expectations this year and that created pressure. I’m glad to see them take care of business. (GSA) was a good, athletic team. Our guys were able to play up to their capabilities.”
The Flyers probably won’t be quite as dominant in 2011, but with Eric Ordway moving up to join Patrick Ordway and Thompson as singles stalwarts, Waynflete will be very difficult to dethrone.
“We’ll have to restructure next year, especially in doubles,” said Madore. “We do return a lot of talent at the top. Brandon and Patrick are as good as it gets at singles.”
The Waynflete girls were seeking their first title since 2006 and had a solid regular season, winning 10 of 12 matches (losing only to NYA and eventual Class B champion Falmouth). The Flyers wound up with the No. 4 ranking in Western C and downed No. 5 Hall-Dale (3-2) and top-ranked St. Dom’s (4-1) to set up a showdown with NYA in the regional final. The Panthers would beat Waynflete for the third time in four seasons, 5-0, ending the Flyers season at 12-3.
“The doubles teams came close to taking two matches from NYA,” said Waynflete coach Linda Cohen. “(The Panthers) are a deep team and we always have good matchups with them. I was more than thrilled with the way the team performed this season. I was very pleasantly surprised by the players that that stepped up to replace six graduating seniors from 2009.
The Flyers will look to get over the hump in 2011 and should have a great shot.
“Freshman Kaitlyn Thompson and juniors Maddie High and Elena Britos will be returning, as well as sophomores Emily Trafton, Lucy Blatt, Nina Jarrell and freshman Phoebe Suva,” Cohen said. “Sadly, I will see two seniors graduate who were contributors to our fine season. The underclassmen definitely gained some valuable match experience that they will be able to build on for 2011. Up and coming players at Waynflete are sometimes an unknown as new students transfer in at the grade nine level. So I hope I am again pleasantly surprised next year.”
In Western A, Portland followed up on its breakthrough, first-ever regional championship 2009 campaign with a stellar season this spring, winning all 12 regular season matches, all but two by 5-0 scores (3-2 over Gorham May 10 and 4-1 at Scarborough May 20). The Bulldogs earned the top seed in the region for the second year in a row and had no trouble eliminating No. 8 South Portland (5-0) and No. 4 Scarborough (4-1).
The regional final, however, was a different story.
Due to injury, Portland had to shake up its lineup, and that caught up with the Bulldogs against the No. 2 Rams. Corey Carmichael took her third singles match (6-1, 6-1) and Lauren MacDougal and Sophie Hulbert were 6-2, 6-2 winners at first doubles, but the third point never came.
Emma Wilson and Nyador Nguany lost, 4-6, 6-7 (4) at second doubles, Liza Iselborn fell, 0-6, 2-6, at second singles and Mary Moran dropped her first singles match, 4-6, 4-6, to Natalie Egbert, ending Portland’s season at 14-1.
“I was crushed,” said Bulldogs coach Bonnie Moran. “The girls took it better than I did. It was so disappointing. Molly Gallagher got hurt at the Rugby Nationals. We hoped she’d be back, but she never got cleared. That’s part of sports. I never would have wanted her to come back before she was OK. We had to pull a JV player up. All the kids did fine, but I knew it would be different with Gorham, after we only beat them 3-2 in the regular season.
“It was another great year. We only lost three individual the whole regular season. I can’t believe how much the seniors improved as tennis players. All seven are National Honors Society members. It’s an amazingly bright group.”
The Bulldogs will most of their key contributors, but have established themselves as a top contender and will look to avenge this loss in 2011.
“I have a bunch of freshmen and sophomores coming back,” Moran said. “Good athletes. We’ll get back, but it will take some time.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Waynflete’s Eric Ordway plays a shot while partner Ross Cummings looks on during Saturday’s Class C state championship match. Ordway and Cummings won in straight sets at first doubles and the Flyers rolled, 5-0, over George Stevens Academy, for a third title in a row.
To the victor goes the spoils. Again. Junior Eric Ordway and his Waynflete teammates celebrate the Flyers third straight Class C title.