Monday’s state tennis singles championships at Bates College had a decidedly green and white feel as two members of the Waynflete juggernaut made a run at the top.
Senior Christine Ordway regained the crown she won as a freshman and sophomore, but it didn’t come easily, as she edged Scarborough’s Kasia Jania, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the final. Jania, as fate would have it, is the younger sister of Camille, who beat Ordway a year ago.
Sophomore Brandon Thompson wasn’t as fortunate. He got to the final before losing 3-6, 3-6 to now three-time champion Mike Hill of Mt. Ararat.
With singles play complete, it’s time for local teams to take center stage. The preliminary round began Tuesday (too late for print) and state championships will be bestowed a week from Saturday.
Ordway, the top seed on the girls’ side, who didn’t face a test in the preliminary rounds, cruised through Friday’s second round with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Lincoln Academy’s Aimee Keushguerian. Saturday, Ordway downed Winthrop’s Kelsey Ouellette, 6-0, 6-1, then earned a berth in the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over No. 8 seed Analise Kump of Falmouth.
Monday, Ordway downed No. 5 Annie Criscione, 6-0, 6-1, in the semifinals, then earned a date with Jania, where she finished her run to a third championship with a tougher match than expected. Ordway led 4-1 and 5-2 in the first set before Jania made things interesting. Jania got the better of things in the second set and fought to the end in the third but Ordway held on to return to the pinnacle.
Ordway’s three career crowns tie her with Lynn Welch of South Portland (1972, 1973 and 1974) and Lindsay Whipple of Falmouth (1983 through 1985). The record holders with four are Cony’s Anna Chai, who won four straight between 1991 and 1994, and Biddeford’s Karolina Pierko (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999).
Thompson, seeded second behind Hill, was a 6-1, 6-1 second round winner over Messalonskee’s Spencer Luettich. He downed Westbrook’s David Born, 6-2, 6-1, and No. 7 Janis Schafer of Old Town Saturday, then was a 6-0, 6-1 winner over No. 6 Thomas Dillman of Greely in the semifinals. Thompson’s quest to become the first ever boys’ Waynflete singles champion ended in the final against Hill in straight sets.
Thompson’s teammate Devin Van Dyke, seeded fifth, was a 6-3, 7-5 winner over Mt. Ararat’s Josh Dennison in the second round, ousted Brunswick’s Mats Haaland, 6-0, 6-1 in the round of 16, then was eliminated, 1-6, 2-6 by No. 4 Joaquin Perez-Marsa of Medomak Valley in the quarterfinals.
Back on the girls’ side, Erin Woodbury of McAuley was a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Bangor’s Emma Coffey in the second round, but lost 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 to No. 7 Emilie Cloutier of Lewiston in the round of 16.
Two local girls made it to the second round, but no further. McAuley’s Addie Devine was a 6-1, 6-1 first round winner over Belfast’s Rosie LaCivita, then fell 3-6, 2-6 to Caribou’s Jenna Selander. Portland’s Maggie Swann downed Hall-Dale’s Wendy Goldman, 6-3, 6-2 in the first round before losing, 3-6, 3-6 to Paulie Schopp of Fryeburg Academy.
Can Portland’s magic continue?
Entering the 2009 campaign, the Portland girls’ tennis team had never won more than 10 games or advanced deeper than the semifinal round of the playoffs, both of which happened last year.
This year’s team expected to be in the hunt for a top spot, but only a few expected the Bulldogs to go 12-0 and earn the top seed for the Western Class A tournament.
“To be honest, I did expect to have a very good season,” said coach Bonnie Moran. “We only graduated one part-time varsity player and only lost 2-3 to Deering in the semifinals last year with two of our varsity players missing.
“I can’t say enough about these girls. It’s all about balance. They’re very competitive, even among themselves, but they definitely have their eye on the prize, pulling together as a team to work toward a common goal. They’re very confident, but at the same time, have a healthy respect for their opponents’ skills. We’re having so much fun.”
Portland will host either No. 8 South Portland (6-6) or No. 9 Thornton Academy (6-6) in the quarterfinals Thursday. During the regular season, the Bulldogs downed both teams by a 5-0 score.
Portland might be in for a semifinal showdown with No. 5 McAuley (9-3). The Lions battled hard all season, including a 3-2 loss at Portland in the finale. McAuley goes to No. 4 Windham (9-3) Thursday for the quarterfinals. On May 15, the Lions won 5-0 at the Eagles.
Perennial contender Deering wasn’t as strong as usual this spring, but still managed to go 8-4, good for the No. 7 seed. The Rams hosted No. 10 Kennebunk (4-8) in a preliminary round match Tuesday (too late for print). The teams played in the regular season finale last Tuesday with host Deering winning 5-0. Kennebunk eliminated Deering 3-2 in last year’s regional final.
Cheverus went 2-10 this spring and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
In Western C, Waynflete is well-equipped to make another serious run at a championship and as usual, has rival North Yarmouth Academy standing in its way.
The Flyers finished 10-2, losing only to Class B power Falmouth and NYA (both by 3-2 scores), and earned the No. 4 seed. Thursday, Waynflete will host No. 5 Dirigo (8-4) in the quarterfinals. The Flyers and Panthers can’t meet until the regional final. One or the other has won every Class C state championship but one dating back to 1999.
Cheverus hoping to repeat
On the boys’ side, Cheverus made a surprise run to the state match last season and likes its chances again this spring.
The Stags were 10-2 in the regular year, losing only to Scarborough and Windham, yet only managed to earn the No. 5 seed in Western A. Cheverus visits No. 4 Westbrook (9-3) in Thursday’s quarterfinals. The Stags and Blue Blazes didn’t meet this season.
Deering and Portland had to play prelims Tuesday (too late for print).
The Rams wound up 6-6 and ninth in the region and went to No. 8 Kennebunk (6-6), a team they lost to 4-1 last Tuesday. If Deering was able to turn the tables, it would go to top-ranked Windham (12-0) Thursday for the quarterfinals. On April 29, the Rams lost 5-0 at home to the Eagles.
The Bulldogs (4-8 and 10th) went to No. 7 Thornton Academy (7-5), a squad they lost to, 3-2 on the road, back on May 15. If Portland was able to spring an upset, it would play at No. 2 Scarborough (10-2) Thursday in the quarterfinals. On May 13, the Bulldogs lost 5-0 at home to the Red Storm.
In Western C, the defending state champion Waynflete Flyers look to be as close to a title lock as anyone. The Flyers steamrolled the competition during the regular season, going 12-0 and earned the top seed. Thursday, Waynflete will host No. 8 St. Dom’s (4-8) in the quarterfinals. The Flyers twice beat the Saints by 5-0 scores this spring.
The semifinals will be played Saturday on the court of the higher remaining seed. The regional final matches are Wednesday, June 10 at Bates. Class C boys and girls play at 9:15 a.m. Class A goes at 4:15 p.m. The state championships are Saturday, June 13 at Colby College in Waterville. Class C matches start at 9:15 a.m. Class A matches begin at 4:15 p.m.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com.