LEWISTON — After the first few championship points slipped away, Falmouth sophomore Eli Sidhu reminded himself to forget about those lost opportunities. Put them behind him.

Then came another, and another. Somehow, Kennebunk senior Jaxson Redmond dodged and weaved and kept the Rams alive in their pivotal Class A South boys’ tennis finals match.

“You’ve got to have a short-term memory,” Sidhu said. “This is a game of runs.”

Not until his ninth opportunity at clinching the overall victory did Sidhu capitalize. He served, charged the net to pressure Redmond’s return, then paused and watched that return sail just beyond the baseline to win a tiebreaker, avoid a third set and send Falmouth back to the Class A state finals Wednesday afternoon.

At third singles, Sidhu defeated Redmond 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) to give the top-seeded Navigators a 3-2 victory over No. 2 Kennebunk Monday afternoon at the Wallach Tennis Center on the campus of Bates College.

Falmouth (15-0) became the third Southern Maine team of the day to book a return date to Wednesday’s state finals. The Navigators will face North champion Skowhegan, which defeated Brunswick, 4-1.


Earlier Monday, Yarmouth and Waynflete punched their tickets. The top-seeded Clippers (15-0) beat No. 2 Lincoln Academy (13-2) by a 4-1 score and will face North champion Mt. Desert Island (13-2) Wednesday morning at 8:30 in search of a fifth consecutive Class B state title.

No. 4 Waynflete (11-4) of Portland rolled to a 5-0 victory over No. 3 Maine Central Institute (11-4) of Pittsfield. The Flyers, winners of a record 15 straight state titles, face Orono (14-1) Wednesday afternoon at 12:30 p.m.

The Class A South match was the tightest, not surprising considering a 3-2 Falmouth victory earlier this season decided when Falmouth freshman Matt Morneault edged Kennebunk sophomore Alberto Cutone at No. 2 singles. That prevented a Kennebunk sweep of singles, because both George Cutone at No. 1 and Redmond at No. 3 had won.

In Monday’s rematch, three-time singles state champion George Cutone again prevailed over Falmouth junior Sam Yoon at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-3. Alberto Cutone, however, won the first set over Morneault, and their match was headed toward a third set when Sidhu and Morneau were locked in their second-set tiebreaker.

After Sidhu finally pulled through to give Falmouth its decisive third point, a 10-point tiebreaker was played at No. 2 singles, and Alberto Cutone came away a 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7) winner.

Much earlier, Falmouth had swept the doubles matches, each by 6-1, 6-1. Seniors Charlie Wolack and Daniel Kim played at first doubles. Classmate Karl Chamberlain and sophomore Luke Kusel played at second doubles.


Curiously, these were not the lineups that met in the doubles state finals that proved an all-Falmouth affair. Wolack and Sidhu had teamed up for that victory, over teammates Chamberlain and Raymond Li.

For the playoff run, however, the Falmouth coaching staff opted to break up their doubles teams, moving Sidhu into the third singles slot.

“I’m really pleased with some of the adjustments,” said Falmouth Coach Bob McCully. “They worked like we thought that they would.”

Victories against Portland and Gorham in earlier playoff rounds helped Sidhu prepare for Monday’s match against Redmond, who had not lost in team competition all season. Redmond made some adjustments of his own and took a 4-2 lead in the second set, only to have Sidhu rally to go ahead 5-4.

Redmond then survived five match points to hold serve and knot the score at 5-all. He survived another pair to hold serve and force a tiebreaker at 6-all.

“He was aggressive, he had a great forehand and he was pretty consistent,” Redmond said of Sidhu. “But really, I was my biggest enemy. I fought myself more than I fought him.”


Sidhu won the first five points of the tiebreaker and took over serve leading 6-1. Finally, he followed a strong serve and forced one last long return.

“Throughout the whole tiebreak,” Sidhu said, “I focused on serving and volleying, which is how I thought I could put it away.”

Earlier Monday, Lincoln put up a fight against Yarmouth in Class B, opening with a 6-3, 6-3 victory at second doubles from Micah Stapp and Alec Buckley and extending two other matches to a third set, but the Clippers remained undeterred.

Sophomore Alexander Gordon won 6-2, 6-1 at third singles and freshman James Hartnett followed at second singles, 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 to give Yarmouth a lead. Junior Chris Auger and sophomore John Nicholas clinched the match with a 7-6 (10-8), 4-6, 6-3 victory at first doubles.

Senior Andi Cobaj, one of only two holdovers from last year’s state championship lineup (Gordon is the other), completed the scoring with a 6-1, 6-1 victory at first singles.

“We found a pretty nice lineup to use,” Cobaj said after a regular season that saw 13 different players earn varsity letters. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”

In Class C, Waynflete swept singles behind junior Jeff Adey and seniors Basil DiBenedetto and Max Shurman, who dropped a total of eight games between them. The doubles proved more challenging, although the Flyers still won 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 at first doubles (Andrew Rogers and Jules Kirby) and 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 at second (Noah Stern-Rich and Sebby Ovigele).

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