June 7, 2013

Tennis contenders await schedule's serve

- By GLENN JORDAN

Staff Writer

Twelve teams are ready to compete for six Maine high school state championships.

Now they're just waiting to hear when and where.

Organizers of the team tournaments will decide Friday whether to stick to their original plan of playing at the University of Maine outdoor courts in Orono or opt for the Bangor Tennis Club in Hampden because of the threat of rain.

The indoor facility has only four courts, so the schedule would be staggered instead of having the boys and girls play concurrently. An inside schedule would begin with Class C girls, continue with Class C boys, then proceed to Class B girls and Class B boys.

In that scenario, the Class A championships would be held Monday in Greater Portland.

Wherever and whenever his Cape Elizabeth boys play, Coach Andy Strout will be wearing his madras shorts and a beatific smile. "If we go out and play the way we're capable of playing," he said, "it'll be what it is."

Cue Doris Day and the orchestra for "Que Sera, Sera."

Cape Elizabeth will face Eastern Maine champion Mt. Desert Island in the Class B boys' final. Both teams are unbeaten. Strout may be most pleased about the fact that all his intrasquad challenge matches are over.

"There's so many good kids that there are some people who had to take back seats, and they're probably not used to taking back seats," he said. "Trying to handle that with kid gloves is a challenge sometimes."

Six of Strout's top seven players have played singles at some point in the past two seasons. Only three -- Matt Gilman, Peter Higgins and Satchel McCarthy -- will do so Saturday.

"When kids are competing against each other and moving up and down the ladder, there are some disappointed kids," he said. "But everyone was willing to take their role and roll with it."

Here's a look at the six championship matches:

CLASS A GIRLS: Portland (15-0) vs. Brunswick (14-0)

Brunswick is the defending champion and boasts a stellar singles lineup led by 2012 individual state champ Maisie Silverman. Portland has strong doubles teams and will be competitive at second and third singles. The Sophie Hulbert vs. Ali Stankiewicz and Margot Andreasen vs. Leah Soloway matches should be compelling.

CLASS A BOYS: Gorham (15-0) vs. Bangor (15-0)

This is a rematch of last year's final, won 4-1 by Gorham. Gorham had to replace Kyle Curley, who is out because of a back injury, at No. 1 singles, and find a new No. 2 doubles team. Bangor had to replace six seniors.

CLASS B GIRLS: Falmouth (15-0) vs. Waterville (15-0)

For the third straight year and fourth in five, Falmouth and Waterville meet for the title. Reigning singles state champ Olivia Leavitt has yet to appear in the team tournament because of a biceps strain, so Waterville may have a shot at preventing a sixth straight Falmouth championship.

"It's going to be up to our girls to play with a lot of heart and a lot of patience and a lot of determination," said Falmouth Coach Sandra Stone.

CLASS B BOYS: Cape Elizabeth (15-0) vs. Mt. Desert Island (15-0)

MDI is still looking for its first boys' state crown. In the Eastern Maine final, the Trojans handled a Caribou team that had placed three players in the singles state tournament.

Still, Cape Elizabeth has already beaten Falmouth twice and Waynflete once, and each of those programs is traditionally stronger than MDI.

CLASS C GIRLS: Waynflete (10-5) vs. Van Buren (11-2)

The Flyers are after their third straight state championship. The last Eastern Maine team to win in Class C was nobody. The West is 18-0 since the format began in 1995.

CLASS C BOYS: Waynflete (12-3) vs. George Stevens (13-2)

Last year, George Stevens won three first sets before getting swept 5-0 by Waynflete, whose singles lineup of Patrick Ordway, Isaac Salas and Shapiro remains intact.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

gjordan@pressherald.com

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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