LEWISTON — When it was over, after Falmouth sophomore Meredith Kelley had reached deep within to turn around what seemed like the inevitable demise of the most dominant tennis streak in Maine history, she knew what had made it possible.

Fear and friendship.

“I was really scared,” she said of realizing hers was suddenly the deciding match of the Class A state final Saturday against Lewiston, which also happened to be playing host. “I think having all my teammates out there made it easier for me, having them cheering me on.”

All the attention turned to Kelley and Lewiston freshman Abby Svor at No. 1 singles after Lewiston pulled out a three-setter in second doubles to knot the match at 2. Svor won the opening set 6-1 while the doubles was still in doubt.

Kelley won the next two sets, 6-2, 6-1, to extend Falmouth’s winning streak to 173 matches and earn the Class A state title, the team’s 11th in a row.

“It was more the state championship than the streak, for sure,” Kelley said of the self-inflicted pressure.

Falmouth (16-0) had taken a 2-1 lead with victories from senior Alston Armstrong (6-0, 6-2) at No. 3 singles and senior Grace Dimick and junior Maddy Joyce (7-5, 7-5) at first doubles. Dimick and Joyce finished the season unbeaten after fending off a spirited upset attempt by Lewiston (15-1) sophomores Maddy Foster and Molly Chicoine, the granddaughter of Lewiston Coach Anita Murphy.

Freshman Julia Svor beat Falmouth sophomore Sarah Fallon 6-4, 6-4 at No. 2 singles before Lewiston’s Amy Sperandio and Jill Pelletier outlasted Falmouth juniors Emma Cohen and Sydney Pearl 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 at second doubles.

That left Kelley and Abby Svor at the center of attention, with a streak of 10 years in the balance.

“Honestly, we do not talk about it,” said Falmouth assistant coach Lori Poulin. “We give them zero pressure. It’s just not even a factor for us, because every match is a new match and we respect all of our opponents.”

Earlier Saturday, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle wrapped up a perfect season with a 3-2 victory over Caribou in the Class B final, and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln became the first team from Northern or Eastern Maine to win the Class C state championship since tennis expanded to three classifications in 1995.

The Lynx (16-0) beat Maranacook (14-2) 3-2 by sweeping doubles and getting a point at No. 2 singles from junior Katey Libby, who won 6-1, 6-2. Maranacook was making its first appearance in the state finals.

“It’s still setting in,” said Libby, whose school had been runner-up four times, most recently in 2016. “I was really nervous because we kind of got blown out last time and I didn’t really know what to expect.”

Lincoln made its first appearance in the finals. The Eagles snapped a 2-2 tie when freshman Caitlin Cass defeated Caribou senior Gabrielle Marquis 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 to complete a singles sweep. Caribou won both doubles matches.

Both teams were undefeated, with every victory but one by a score of 5-0. (Caribou lost a doubles match in its 4-1 season opener against Hermon.)

The match ended less than 24 hours after 15-year-old Lincoln Academy freshman Isabelle Manahan died in a car crash in Edgecomb.

“We almost didn’t play,” Lincoln Coach Charlie Scimone said. “I was late on the phone (Friday) night, talking to the girls, trying to determine if we were up for it or not. They all rose to the occasion.”

“It was really hard,” Cass said. “Isabelle was one of my closest friends. My body was still shaking from everything, so that kind of added to the stress, plus I was just tired, and it was a good match.”

Marquis was seeded fourth in the state singles tournament and reached the quarterfinals. Cass was sixth and reached the semis.

Junior Emily Harris (6-4, 6-1) at No. 2 and sophomore Fiona Liang (6-0, 6-1) at No. 3 also won for the Eagles (16-0).

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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