Westbrook second-doubles duo Ian Douglass and Chris LaRose pulled out a big win for their team versus visiting Biddeford in the playoffs prelims on Tuesday afternoon, May 31. Douglass and LaRose defeated Tigers Matt Poirier and Cam Saucier in straight sets to break a deadlocked match and shuttle the Blazes to a 3-2 W.

The Blazes won the first two of the day’s battles. Second singles player Garett Sanders kicked things off, trumping the Tigers’ Evan Santiago 6-2, 6-3. 

“Garett played a very well rounded match,” said Westbrok head coach Sam Johnson. “His serve looked great. He actually broke strings on two different occasions during the match. He even played through a couple of points with broken strings at one point. Garett has had an exceptional season and looks to keep building.”

Next, first doubles duo Elijah Doucette and Adam Blackmore – competing together for the first time, believe it or not – defeated Phil Huoth and Mike Reissfelder, 6-4, 6-3.

“Elijah and Adam won in straight sets in their first career match together,” said Johnson. “It was a trial-by-fire situation for those guys and they responded. Two seniors who have been competing at a very high level all season. It was nice for them to both be able to get a win in their final home match.”

But then the Blazes dropped two, leaving the overall match up for grabs at 2-2. The team’s No. 1 and No. 3 singles men – Danny Porell and Dylan Ho, respectively – fell to their Biddeford opponents, with Zach Heffernan topping Porell 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, and Alex Millett topping Ho 6-6 (10-8), 6-4. 

“Danny came out strong but ran out of steam down the stretch,” said Johnson. “I thought his forehand looked as good as it has all season. He just ran out of gas.”

“Dylan played a very tough opponent in Alex Millett, who was a dominant net player,” said Johnson. “Dylan made great adjustments throughout the match; using lob shots and drop shots to keep his opponent guessing, but ultimately came up short.”

Thus, Douglass, LaRose, Poirier and Saucier found themselves the last four players on the court – and under an unexpected degree of pressure. Ultimately, Douglass and LaRose took the contest 6-4, 6-6 (12-10).

“The match of the day goes to second doubles,” said Johnson. “Chris made a diving play during the second set that sparked the duo to a victory. Saucier laid a shot just barely over the net and Chris, whose momentum was carrying him in the opposite direction, lunged and made a spectacular play on the ball. The second set went to a tiebreak: first team to seven, win by two. They battled and ultimately pulled it out 12-10.”

The win bumped Westbrook to 7-6 in 2016; it’s the team’s best season in (at least) several years, and Johnson, new to the team this year, undoubtedly deserves a share of the credit. He’s marshalled his boys and juiced their collective attitude, turning them into competitors willing to work hard for their Ws. 

The Blazes entered the tournament ranked eighth – sort of. Interestingly, they had the exact same record as “No. 9″ Biddeford, having accrued the same number of wins and the same number of losses in the regular season, and having done so to the same opponents. They even won and lost to those opponents in similar fashions.

Westbrook traveled to No. 1 Thornton on Thursday, after the American Journal’s print deadline.

Adam Blackmore, seen here, paired up on doubles for the first time ever with Elijah Doucette – and the duo won easily.

Chris LaRose battled, alongside doubles partner Ian Douglass, to a straight-sets win over their Biddeford opponents.

Danny Porell initially looked excellent against his Tigers opponent, but seemed to lose steam as their bout drew on.

Dylan Ho fought ferociously for a win against a tough Biddeford opponent, but fell in the end.

Elijah Doucette, seen here, teamed up with Adam Blackmore for the first time ever on Tuesday – and the duo won their No. 1 singles bout vs. Biddeford.

Westbrooker Garett Sanders won his matchup with Biddeford’s Evan Santiago.

Westbrook’s Ian Douglass volleys vs. Biddeford on Tuesday. Douglass and doubles partner Chris LaRose tamed their Tigers in straight sets, though the second of those unraveled into a marathon tiebreak.

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