FREEPORT — Liam Gould was fighting it. He was coughing, sniffling,

Freeport High School boys tennis player Aaron Rusiecki has his eyes on the ball during Saturday’s Class B South semifinal against Greely at Freeport. Rusiecki and doubles partner Sully Smith dropped a three-setter, but the top-seeded Falcons advanced to Thursday’s regional final at Bates College in Lewiston at 12:45 p.m. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

with the all makings of a pretty bad cold. 

The timing was bad, as the Freeport High School boys’ tennis player battled Greely’s Carson Bell in a Class B South semifinal match at No. 3 singles on Saturday. 

Down a set, Gould rallied on, coming back for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory, then watched as teammate and classmate Wes Goodwin finished off a 6-0, 6-3 win at No. 2 singles for the third and deciding point. 

The 3-2 win sends the Falcons back to Bates College in Lewiston on Thursday for the regional final against No. 3 Yarmouth, with the match slated to begin at 12:45 p.m. 

For Gould, it was about putting his troubles behind him and pushing on. 

“I had to really pull everything together. I had a bad back, and my sickness. I had to fight for it all today,” said Gould. “I was able to play more consistent and make (Bell) run more. I kept returning and fought my hardest today.”

“It is one of those things where you remember it is a team sport,” Freeport (12-1) coach Jay Harper said. “We thought we would win at one doubles, and we lost in three sets. And Gould, he picked up his friends. It was a huge difference maker.

Things began well for Freeport. The second doubles tandem of sophomore TJ Whelan and freshman Gage King captured a hard-fought 6-3, 6-4 win over Greely’s Grant Dresnok and Ethan Sligh. 

Goodwin came to the court to face Ranger Zach Wright with his teammates on the other two courts in dogfights. Gould had rallied to even his match, and the No. 1 doubles squad of seniors Sully Smith and Aaron Rusiecki were even with Greely’s Lars Boddie and Peter Rinehart. 

Just as Goodwin stepped into his first serve, Gould finished off Bell for a 2-0 Freeport lead, but watched as his Falcon classmates fell, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 to bring the Rangers to 2-1. 

“I was focusing on my match and making sure I was hitting the right ground strokes and coming to the net when I needed,” said Goodwin. “Liam did his thing. I have all the confidence in him.”

“I kept looking over at one doubles. They normally come in clutch every game,” added Gould. 

“Our doubles worked on teammate communication and strategies, mostly for this match,

Freeport senior Sully Smith makes a return during his No. 1 doubles semifinal match against Greely on Saturday. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

the past couple of weeks, and both doubles teams performed well today. I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Greely coach Tom Hurley. 

“It was a good climax for us. We have worked on a lot of team play the last couple weeks, and it was about knowing when to move up, knowing when to switch. It was a lot of fun this year,” said Boddie, the only senor on the Rangers’ squad. 

Goodwin took control from the outset of his match. He rolled, 6-0, in the opening set against sophomore lefty Zach Wright, who battled back in the second set, closing to 4-3 after a break of Goodwin’s serve. 

But, the Freeport senior broke right back, then served out the match, 6-0, 6-3, and an insurmountable 3-1 match lead. 

“(Wright’s) service was dialed in. He is a good player. “I was able to keep the ball in play and put some heat on his serve to keep him off-balanced,” Goodwin said. 

“Wes went out and did his job. He kept the ball deep. Wes is our rock,” said Harper, who explained his fear of meeting a solid Greely squad. “We had such a great season, 11-1 and won the Western Maine Conference, but we were scared with Greely, knowing how good they are. We knew if we didn’t at least get to the regional final we would be like, ‘Wow, our top season didn’t end the way we wanted it to.’” 

At No. 1 singles, Greely freshman Leif Boddie downed Freeport senior Clay Canterbury (6-4, 6-2) for the third time this season. 

“We are a very young team with a lot of freshmen and sophomores, and this match is a great learning experience for the whole team,” said Hurley, whose fourth-seeded Rangers finished 8-6. “In some ways, we would have liked to win, but the lessons learned will carry us a few years as we grow our program up.”

In the lone meeting with the Clippers (May 6), the Falcons came away with a 3-2 victory. 

“Now, it is Yarmouth and it will be a war just like today,” added Harper. 

Comments are not available on this story.