WATERVILLE – On match point, Windham senior Dan Crocker called the shot wide, let out a “Yeah!” and took three leaps, the final one easily clearing the tennis net.

Before he could congratulate his Lewiston opponent, Crocker was engulfed in a group hug of Windham teammates who had waited a year for redemption in this Class A state championship match, against a Blue Devils team that had won seven straight titles and 119 consecutive matches.

“I thought it might feel like relief,” said Crocker, who broke free of the celebration long enough to shake hands with Eric Morin of Lewiston after Crocker’s 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory at second singles gave Windham a 3-2 victory Saturday at Colby College. “Instead it’s just overwhelming joy.”

In other boys’ state finals, Waynflete completed its perfect season with a 5-0 shutout of George Stevens Academy in Class C and Cape Elizabeth defeated Camden Hill 5-0 in Class B.

A year ago in Class A, Windham let four championship points slip from its fingers against Lewiston. The match turned on a three-set match at first doubles, and Kurt Stultz and Nick Rallis of Windham were determined to exorcise memories of their loss.

“Want to do the honors?” Stultz asked Rallis after producing a tennis ball inscribed with the score — 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 — of their pivotal 2009 loss.

Rallis accepted the ball, drew back his racquet and whacked the reminder — which had remained on Stultz’s bedroom dresser since last June — into the woods behind the royal and Navy blue courts.

“We had revenge on our minds,” said Rallis, who teamed with Stultz for a 6-3, 6-4 victory at first doubles. Lewiston tied the match with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 victory at second doubles, and all three singles matches appeared headed toward a third set.

Nate Johnson of Windham, trailing 5-2 in the second set, had different ideas. He rallied to win his match 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) over Scott Gagne.

“We waited a year for this,” Johnson said. I figured I’d leave it all on the court and have nothing to regret.”

Lewiston made it 2-2 when Eric Morin defeated sophomore Ryan Johnson — the only non-senior in the Eagles’ lineup — 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 at third singles. That put the match in the hands of Crocker, who raced off the court with fist pumping after finally converting his fifth set point of the second set, keeping his chances alive.

“He’s our emotional leader,” Coach Wayne Martin said. “He’s also meticulous and very smart, one of the few kids who can analyze a match, during the match, instead of blowing up.”

After capping his comeback to clinch the match and give Windham (16-0) its first state title in tennis, Crocker was lifted on his teammates’ shoulders.

“I never believed I couldn’t win the match,” Crocker said.

The match also was emotional for Lewiston. The Blue Devils wore yellow shirts with “Juli” inscribed on the left sleeve and “Tennis starts with Love” on the back in honor of Coach Ron Chicoine’s wife, who died May 4 a week after suffering a cerebral aneurysm.

“The adversity they’ve faced this year and how they’ve pushed through it,” said Martin, who modeled his program on that of Lewiston, “is just incredible.”

Waynflete’s victory in Class C was never in doubt. The Flyers (15-0) won every match in straight sets, with Brandon Thompson, Patrick Ordway and Devin Van Dyke breezing through singles, Eric Ordway and Ross Cummings taking first doubles and Sam Cleaves and Nate Niles taking second doubles.

“There were great expectations,” Waynflete Coach Jeff Madore said. “Living up to them was the tough part, but they did.”

In Class B, Cape Elizabeth earned its 13th state title by completing a perfect run through the tournament, winning all four playoff matches by scores of 5-0.

The Capers (13-3) didn’t settle on a lineup until late in the season, drew the fifth seed in Western Maine, then cruised.

Ben Morse and Calvin Alden at first doubles and John Tranfaglia and Bailey Dittrich at second doubles both won by scores of 6-2, 6-1. Ross Sherman clinched the title with a 6-1, 6-0 victory at second singles. Freshmen Matt Gilman (6-0, 6-0) at first singles and Satchel McCarthy (6-2, 6-2) at third finished the sweep.

“Going through the playoffs not even losing a match, it’s amazing,” Sherman said. “Everything worked out.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of these guys,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Andy Strout, “especially with that senior core (of Alden, Tranfaglia and Dittrich) in the doubles. They just came and played great tennis.”


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

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