HAMPDEN – Suddenly, after a pair of tiebreakers fell to Brunswick, Maisie Silverman mattered.
Instead of simply playing out a meaningless match at No. 1 singles, the 2012 singles state champion and current runner-up had the Class A girls’ tennis team title within her grasp.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Silverman said after her 6-0, 6-0 victory clinched a second straight crown for the Dragons (16-0) over Portland on Saturday night inside the Bangor Tennis Club. “Especially having people who you love and (knowing) that everyone supports everyone.”
The Gorham boys (16-0) also defended their Class A title, turning back Bangor (15-1) for the second year in a row. Like Brunswick, Gorham won by a score of 3-2.
Senior Ryan Gilbert provided the clincher at No. 2 singles, winning 6-1, 6-1.
“It’s a huge relief,” said Gilbert, one of five seniors in the Gorham lineup. “It’s been our goal since we were freshmen.”
Last year Gorham won 4-1, and a big reason was a pair of seniors winning a tight match at second doubles. The same thing happened this year, as Riley Perkins and Joe Bennett pulled out a 6-1, 4-6 (10-7) victory.
“Just like last year, it’s two seniors who played four years and finally got it together,” said Coach Aaron Landry. “They finally convinced themselves that, hey, they’re good.”
Gorham’s other victory came at first doubles, where Mike Lubelczyk and Tom Susi won 6-0, 6-0. Bangor’s Sam Bolduc and Mateo Laredo won in straight sets at first and third singles, respectively.
In the girls’ match, Portland (15-1) opened a 2-0 lead by winning at No. 3 singles (sophomore Margot Andreasen, 6-1, 6-2) and at second doubles (Lily Bruenjes and Alyssa Vaccaro, 6-2, 6-4).
When Portland’s tandem of junior Kayla Berg and Georgia Drew won the first set 6-3 at No. 1 doubles, Silverman, who hadn’t yet taken the court against Portland junior Annette Denekas, could only watch and hope.
Sure enough, Brunswick junior Samiera MacMullen and senior Hannah Bobker forced a second-set tiebreaker and won it 7-4 to set up a 10-point match tiebreaker, in use because wet weather forced the tournament indoors with only four available courts.
“It’s not the format that anybody’s really happy with, to play a 10-point tiebreak instead of a third set,” said Portland Coach Bonnie Moran.
“It’s tough, but it’s tough for everybody.”
At No. 2 singles, Brunswick junior Ali Stankiewicz won 6-2, 6-2 to cut Portland’s lead in half, but all attention was focused on the match tiebreaker at first doubles.
Berg and Drew jumped to leads of 2-0 and 3-2 before MacMullen and Bobker reeled off three points to take the lead for good. An apparent service winner by MacMullen at 9-7 drew cheers of celebration from behind the spectator windows, but it turned out to be slightly long.
Portland survived another match point before MacMullen finally struck a winning backhand volley to give Brunswick the match at 11-9.
Bobker and MacMullen had won a tiebreaker earlier this year against Mt. Ararat, said Brunswick Coach Rob Manter, who had kind words for the game Portland duo of Berg and Drew.
“They’re a very good team,” he said. “To win those two tiebreakers against them, my girls were staying tenacious and not losing hope.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: