No. 3 Gorham fell to No. 2 Scarborough the teams’ seminfinals bout last Saturday, June 4. Second-singles player Jenna Cowan picked up a Rams win, as did second-doubles duo Lizzie Kutzer and Delaney Burns, but the Red Storm took the day’s three other pairings to narrowly advance.

Cowan toppled Scarborough’s Emily Keenan 6-2, 6-1, and Kutzer and Burns worked together to take down Anna Driscoll and Brielle Hardy 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.

“This match was a nail-biter that could have gone either way, as any playoff match should be,” said Gorham head coach Nicole Bergeron. “We went into this one ready and more than willing to compete, knowing what we had to face and knowing that we could win. It just didn’t happen that way.”

But elsewhere on the courts, the Storm prevailed. In first-singles action, Stormer Megan Nathanson bested Ram Whitney King 6-0, 6-0. Likewise, Bryce Nitchman took her match at third singles, defeating Molly van Luling 2-6, 7-5, 6-2. Finally, Kaicee Flaherty and Caitlin Merrill won at first doubles, 6-4, 7-5 over Avery Arena and Lauren Poirier.

“Scarborough was our toughest competition this year,” said Cowan. “We went into this match hoping to challenge them, which we did. Even though we didn’t get the result we hoped for, we still played very good tennis. We were able to settle with a score of 2-3, unlike in the regular season, where we lost 1-4.”

“Although we gave it our all, Scarborough’s players played strong mental and strategic games,” said van Luling. “Despite this final loss, I am proud of our season. We finished with a better record, and got farther into the playoffs than we did in any of my past seasons.”

“Scarborough was as tough as predicted,” said Bergeron. “They certainly weren’t going to give us anything easily. It was close, competitive and nerve-wracking, and the team fought very hard.  I cannot describe to you how proud I am of this team.”

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The No. 2 Red Storm triumphed in their quarterfinals and seminfinals bouts last week, besting No. 7 Cheverus 5-0 on Thursday, June 2 and No. 3 Gorham 3-2 on Saturday the 4th. Senior Captain and State Singles Quarterfinalist Megan Nathanson led the charge for Scarborough, skunking her opponents in straight sets on both days.

Scarborough vs. Cheverus

In first singles action on Thursday, Nathanson walloped the Stags’ Eliana Budri 6-0, 6-0, while second-singles teammate Emily Keenan sailed past Cheverus’s Kendall Jackson 6-2, 6-1 and third-singles teammate Bryce Nitchman dominated the Stags’ Ally Smith 6-1, 6-0.

“Strong singles play all season, led by Meg, allowed us to duplicate [our] 5-0 regular season result against a solid Cheverus team,” said Storm head coach Steve Eddy.

On the doubles courts, Caitlin Merrill paired with Olivia Booth-Howe, filling in for an injured Anna Driscoll, to defeat Stags Alexis Parsons and Leanna Farr 6-2, 6-3. 

“[Olivia] continued her impressive doubles play,” said Eddy. “She is always ready to go if we need her in the lineup. It’s a nice weapon to have.”

Meanwhile, Kaicee Flaherty and Brielle Hardy worked together to down Alexis Paszyc and Katherine Sullivan. The two Stormers topped their Stags counterparts 5-0 in the first set and took the second by default when an injury forced the Cheverus duo to retire.

Scarborough vs. Gorham

On Saturday, Nathanson continued her winning ways, besting first-singles Ram Whitney King 6-0, 6-0. Likewise, Nitchman took her match at third singles, defeating Gorhamite Molly van Luling 2-6, 7-5, 6-2.

“Bryce Nitchman played a huge match at No. 3 singles,” said Eddy, “coming back to win from one set down, and down 5-4 in the second set. She is undefeated at No. 3 singles this year with a 13-0 record.”

“This match was a nail-biter that could have gone either way, as any playoff match should be,” said Gorham head coach Nicole Bergeron. “We went into this one ready and more than willing to compete, knowing what we had to face and knowing that we could win.  It just didn’t happen that way.”

Finally, Flaherty and Merrill won at first doubles over Rams Avery Arena and Lauren Poirier, 6-4, 7-5.

“[Kaicee and Caitlin] avenged a three-set loss to Gorham’s No. 1 team in the previous match,” said Eddy. “They were down 5-2 in the second set and ran off five games in a row to hold on for a [key win].”

Gorham won the other two contests on the afternoon, taking second-singles – in which Jenna Cowan toppled Keenan 6-2, 6-1 – and second-doubles as well. Rams Lizzie Kutzer and Delaney Burns worked together in that bout to take down Driscoll and Hardy 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.

“Scarborough was our toughest competition this year,” said Cowan. “We went into this match hoping to challenge them, which we did. Even though we didn’t get the result we hoped for, we still played very good tennis. We were able to settle with a score of 2-3, unlike in the regular season, where we lost 1-4.”

“Although we gave it our all, Scarborough’s players played strong mental and strategic games,” said van Luling. “Despite this final loss, I am proud of our season. We finished with a better record, and got farther into the playoffs than we did in any of my past seasons.”

“Scarborough was as tough as predicted,” said Bergeron. “They certainly weren’t going to give us anything easily. It was close, competitive and nerve-wracking, and the team fought very hard.  I cannot describe to you how proud I am of this team!”

Eddy expressed pride in his girls’ development this season. “The Scarborough starting lineup is all seniors with five new starters over last year,” he said. “Other than Meg Nathanson and Bryce Nitchman, they don’t have a lot of match experience; but they bring a tremendous level of maturity in tight situations.” 

Seven of the talented, if green, Stormers earned All-Conference SMAA honors this spring.  Scarborough is now 14-0 on the year. They battle No. 1 Falmouth, also 14-0, at Bates College in Lewiston on June 9 for the Western Maine crown.

“We’ll be heavy underdogs,” Eddy said of the upcoming Final, “but I love my team’s mindset.”

 

Lizzie Kutzer volleys in her doubles match at Scarborough on Saturday.

Brielle Hardy volleys in her bout with Cheverus on Thursday.

Scarboroughite Olivia Booth-Howe volleys in her match with visiting Cheverus on Thursday.

Scarborough’s Bryce Nitchman won her No. 3 singles bout vs. Gorham’s Molly van Luling on Saturday.

Red Stormer Emily Keenan fell to her Gorham opponent on Saturday.

Scarborough’s Kaicee Flaherty volleys in her doubles bout with visiting Gorham on Saturday.

Scarborough’s Caitlin Merrill, alongside No. 1 doubles partner Kaicee Flaherty, won her match vs. visiting Gorham on Saturday.

Gorham’s Molly van Luling fell to her Scarborough opponent in Saturday’s third singles contest.

Gorhamite Jenna Cowan defeated her Scarborough opponent, Emily Keenan, in straight sets on Saturday.

Ram Lauren Poirier volleys in her doubles match at Scarborough on Saturday. The Red Storm edged Gorham 3-2 in the semifinals bout.

Gorhamite Avery Arena slams a shot in her doubles match at Scarborough on Saturday.

Delany Burns of Gorham unwinds into her serve at Scarborough on Saturday.


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