The seedings are complete for the 48 boys and 48 girls who remain in the state singles tennis tournaments, which resume Friday morning at the Wallach Tennis Center on the campus of Bates College in Lewiston.

Before examining the likely candidates for the semifinals and finals on Memorial Day – and with Waynflete’s boys sweeping the top three seeds, green is almost certain to be present – it seems appropriate to reflect on four doubles tournaments played over the weekend.

The Western Maine Conference and Southern Maine Activities Association crowned boys’ and girls’ champions Saturday at four locations.

In South Portland, Windham seniors Nick Rallis and Kurt Stultz won the SMAA boys’ doubles tournament for the third year in a row. They defeated Tyler Hickey and Jackson Towle in the final, 6-4, 6-1, to give the Eagles a fourth consecutive title.

At Deering Oaks, Portland senior Lauren MacDougal and freshman Sophie Hulbert – who usually play with other partners – won the SMAA girls’ title over Julia Haverty and Danielle LaCasse of McAuley, 7-5, 6-3.

At the Fore River Complex, Waynflete senior Ross Cummings and junior Eric Ordway twice rallied to defeat Cape Elizabeth seniors John Tranfaglia and Bailey Dittrich, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8.

In Falmouth, three of the four semifinal teams were playing on their home courts. Seniors Amanda Gallagher and Emma Wilberg prevailed over teammates Abby Payson and Steffi Rothweiler, 6-3, 6-1, for the title.

“Singles is less interesting to me than doubles,” said Portland Coach Bonnie Moran. “There’s so much more nuance to it. You’ve got to have a complete game. This is why I stress good net play and volleying.”

Besides, Moran said, as players get older, they naturally drift toward doubles. It’s easier on the body, more social and, not least of all, less expensive when you’re paying for an indoor court.

Postponed because of rain on their original date of May 8, the SMAA tournaments drew 24 girls’ teams and 32 boys’ teams from 16 schools. A consolation draw insured that every team played at least two matches.

MacDougal’s regular partner, freshman Molly Gallagher, was away at a national rugby tournament in Utah, so Hulbert, who usually plays second doubles with senior Emma Wilson, filled in. Sophomore Nyador Nguany teamed with Wilson, and they won two matches before falling to Scarborough’s No. 1 team of Ashley Anastasoff and Margaret Benoit in the quarterfinals.

Portland’s third team – a senior (Vesna Glisic) with one match of varsity experience and a sophomore (Akari Ishii) with none – even managed to beat McAuley’s No. 2 team and win a set from Gorham’s No. 1 team of Sarah Robinson and Megan Creeden.

“It worked out really well,” said Moran, who is among those trying to institute a similar junior varsity tournament. “It just gets experience for more players.”

Waynflete hosted 15 boys’ teams from eight schools at the Fore River courts. The Flyers’ top team of Cummings and Ordway found themselves in a 4-0 hole against Falmouth freshmen Sam Holland and Tom Wilberg before prevailing 8-5 in a quarterfinal match.

“I think they didn’t realize how good these guys were,” Waynflete Coach Jeff Madore said. “(Holland and Wilberg) are both good athletes and they played well. Our guys were taking it a little too casually and had to really step it up.”

In the final, Ordway and Cummings trailed Dittrich and Tranfaglia – Cape’s No. 2 team – by one set and 1-4 in the second set before rallying. Dittrich and Tranfaglia had knocked off York’s previously unbeaten team of Matt Campbell and Ryan Lusty, 10-8.

“It’s an opportunity for the doubles guys to play people they’ve never played before,” Madore said. “So they see some different competition and they get to play more than one match, so the level of play improves.

Plus, they’re playing in the morning when the kids are fresh and they haven’t been in school all day.”

BRANDON THOMPSON, Patrick Ordway and Devin Van Dyke, all of Waynflete, drew the top three seeds in the boys’ singles tournament. Thompson lost in the finals a year ago to Mt. Ararat grad Mike Hill, who now plays at Brown.

The top three seeds in the girls’ tournament are Analise Kump of  Falmouth, Elena Mandzhukova of Brunswick and Annie Criscione of  Falmouth. Complete seedings and first-round matches can be found on the Scoreboard page.

ONE PLAYER to watch in the girls’ draw is unseeded Willa Purcell, a sophomore from Brunswick who normally plays second doubles. She filled in when Brunswick’s No. 3 singles player had a conflict with the qualifying tournament, knocked off Morse’s top player and fourth regional seed, Meo Pourreyron, in a tiebreaker after trailing 0-4 in games, then beat Linda Fogg of Mt. Ararat, 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Purcell faces North Yarmouth Academy’s Sarah Jordan in Friday’s first round, with the winner advancing to play eighth seed Jenna Selander of Caribou.

“It is a bit odd to have a player who does not start qualify for the Round of 48,” said Brunswick Coach Rob Manter, “Willa … will certainly be playing more next year.”

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:
[email protected]

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