After three seasons as part of an undefeated doubles team alongside Grace Dimick, Falmouth High senior Maddy Joyce is venturing into the singles scene this spring.

Joyce is the captain and No. 3 singles player for a Falmouth program that has reeled off 11 consecutive state titles and 175 (entering the week) straight matches since its last loss in 2008. She also was the captain of a Falmouth basketball team that won only twice in 18 games.

After a recent practice, we asked her a few questions about winning, losing, leadership and what’s on her horizon.

Q: What’s it like going from a team that rarely wins to one that never loses?

A: We were a really young (basketball) team and obviously didn’t do that well, but it was still so fun.

Q: You missed a significant chunk of the winter season with a concussion. What happened?

A: A girl was trying to pass across court and I was right on her. Her elbow just nailed me. It hurt so bad.

Q: How long were you out?

A: I missed eight or nine games in the middle of the season. When I came back, I didn’t have the same flow and I couldn’t really get in my groove. I was nervous about my head and getting hit again. So that kind of stunk, but the team aspect was amazing. We made smoothie bowls before every game. We’d go out for ice cream. It was really fun.

Q: Can a 2-16 team be as much fun as one that’s 175-0?

A: Oh, for sure. As a captain, I get to see both sides. Obviously, basketball was tougher. Girls lose motivation. Maine winters are tough enough as it is. So that was a challenge for me to make sure I set the tone: ‘Let’s go! Three more weeks, we can do this!’ I think we pulled together and ended as strong as we could. But coming here (to tennis), it’s a different vibe for sure.

Q: How is it playing singles in tennis after three years as a doubles specialist?

A: Singles is really different than doubles. Coming in I was nervous. I always get nervous before matches, but especially at singles because I’m alone. But I’m really excited. It’s my last year and I’m ready to have fun.

Q: You won your first individual match 6-0, 6-2 against South Portland and your second 7-5, 6-3 against Scarborough. Has it been a smooth transition?

A: The strategy part is pretty difficult for me right now because doubles is so different. I’m not used to the length of points. Playing against (Falmouth teammates) Sara (Fallon, at No. 2) and Meredith (Kelley, at No. 1) in practice is really helpful.

Q: At 5-foot-11, your height was a significant factor in doubles. Does it play a role in singles?

A: I think when I come to the net, it probably is a little intimidating, just because you see this big figure coming at you. But there’s still so much court you can’t cover. I think I struggle with when to go to net, like how hard my previous shot was. I haven’t yet learned entirely the best time to (approach).

Q: Former assistant coach Lori Poulin has taken over as head coach because Bill Goodspeed moved out of state. Has the transition been smooth?

A: I had Lori for a doubles coach all three years, so it seems pretty similar. I miss Bill. He was fun to have around, but Lori’s the same. We have so many laughs and play music, and all that stuff. It’s been fine.

Q: You played soccer your first year in high school, then switched to cross country for your remaining three fall seasons. Why?

A: I basically did it for the social aspect and to get a good workout. I loved cross country. So many of my friends did it and the coaches were awesome. 

Q: You weren’t among the top 10 runners on the team and never scored in a meet, yet you were one of the six captains (three boys and three girls). Why?

A: I’ve done quite a bit of leadership training in high school. My sophomore year I went to RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards), a four-day leadership camp. Each Rotary Club in Maine sponsors a few students from their schools to go to Camp Hinds in Raymond. You spend four days with intense leadership activities. That was one of the best high school experiences I’ve ever had.

Q: How so?

A: They really push you out of your comfort zone. We’d be given an activity and I’d say, ‘OK, maybe we should do this’ and start the conversation naturally. So quite a few times my counselors would make me mute. At first I was so mad: Why am I here if I’m not talking? One time they put a blindfold on me so I was blind and mute.

It taught me about the (importance of) diversity of thought when you need to come to a conclusion, especially in politics. Just because it’s your idea doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best. Being a captain as well, I have to listen to everybody even if I feel like it should go this way. I need to take into consideration the feelings of everybody else.

Q: Aside from sports and homework, what do you do in your free time?

A: I really like to color, which sounds weird, but that’s my way of relaxing. Listening to music and coloring. I have my Sharpies all in a bucket and I have my adult coloring book, and it’s really soothing for me.

Q: Falmouth’s tennis streak nearly ended last June in the Class A state final, when Lewiston tied the match at 2-2 and was up a set at No. 1 singles before Meredith Kelley rallied to win. What was that like for you?

A: Grace and I had a really good match (winning 7-5, 7-5 at first doubles), so that was awesome to go out with a bang for our last match. (In the decisive singles match) every point we were so loud. I know the Lewiston girls did not like how loud we were, but I was like, ‘That’s the only way we’re going to do this, if we are watching every point and so into this.’ When (Kelley) won the second set I breathed a little bit. ‘She has some confidence. She can do this. It’s Meredith.’ After she won I cried. That was unbelievable.

Q: Is it forbidden among team members to even mention The Streak?

A: We sometimes will talk about it. It’s never, ‘We have to win to get to 176!’ It’s in the back of our heads but not really spoken about much.

Q: Where is Grace, your former doubles partner, these days?

A: She’s at the University of South Carolina and on the club (tennis) team, so she’s still going.

Q: What are your college plans?

A: I’m going to the University of Miami. I got a really good financial package from them and got into the honors program as well. I love the sun and warm weather.

Q: Do you know what you’d like to study in college?

A: Political science. That could change but I’ve been pretty involved with government in high school. I’m the president of our civics club and I’ve been a representative on our executive board for all four years. I was also on the Falmouth Tercentennial Committee to celebrate our 300th year as a town.

Q: What are you looking forward to most this spring?

A: Really cherishing my last bit of team sports in high school. I wish it was the length of basketball season. This is too short for me.

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