Lewiton’s No. 1 singles player Cole Ouellette returns a backhand against Brunswick’s Dasol Kim during Tuesday’s Class A North championship match in Brunswick.
Lewiston boys’ tennis coach Tom LeBlond knows his team will have to play its very best from first singles all the way to second doubles Saturday when the Blue Devils go up against Falmouth in the Class A state championship match at Colby College.
The Yachtsmen (15-0) have depth as all three of their singles players took part in the state singles tournament two weeks ago. Their No. 1 player, Nick Forester, was the runner-up in the tournament behind Nick Mathieu of Mt. Ararat.
LeBlond said the Blue Devils (13-2) are battled-tested and will be ready for the challenge, which starts at 10 a.m.
“It’s certainly going to be a challenge,” LeBlond said Friday. “We welcome that challenge. It seems every step, at least through the playoffs, we have have been playing better.
“We have to play our best tennis. I still think that’s in front of us. Hopefully we can play our best tennis tomorrow.”
The teams did not meet during the regular season due to the Blue Devils playing in A North and the Yachtsmen in A South. However, Lewiston’s No. 1 player, Cole Ouellette, did face and defeat Falmouth’s No. 3 player, Peter Stegemann, in the second round of the state singles tournament 7-5, 6-0.
Having seen what Stegemann brings to the table, LeBlond believes he will be a good opponent for Lewiston No.3 player Caden Smith.
“Watching him play and watching Caden go about his business, it’s a favorable matchup,” Smith said. “Caden doesn’t, at least to this point, have that ability that Cole has, but certainly what he does possess and what Cole has is that fight, certainly that will to keep on competing. Boy he has had some marathon matches this year, Caden has.”
Smith won the crucial third point Tuesday in the regional final against Brunswick when he defeated Luke Estabrook. Smith dropped the first set 7-5 before taking the next two sets 6-3 and 6-4.
The Yachtsmen got to the state championship by defeating Thornton Academy 3-2. They also had to grind out the win as No. 2 singles player Alex Klemperer defeated Balazs Balati, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
LeBlond hasn’t seen Falmouth’s two doubles teams, Jordan Bruce and Trey Fallon and Matt Adamowicz and Greyson Cohen. The duos recorded the Yachtsmen’s other two wins Thursday against Thornton Academy.
“Both seem to have solid victories over the doubles teams from Thornton,” LeBlond said. “They got two of their wins in doubles. Our double teams are playing very well — in particular Asier (Garcinuno) and Ben (Ferrance), they had a very strong match against Brunswick against a team that they lost to three times earlier in the season. They absolutely dominated them. It was a case two of our top doubles players playing their best tennis. They are very confident, they have grown as a team, they have grown as a pair.”
Garcinuno and Ferrance defeated Jackson Gordon and Sawyer Nicholson, 6-3, 6-1 on Tuesday. LeBlond hopes his second doubles team, Sam Frechette and Ben St. Laurent, will have a breakthrough match Saturday.
“Both are young players,” LeBlond said. “I think Ben has a little more experience, even though he’s a freshmen. He has played tennis longer than Sam has.
“It’s not their main sport, but they have certainly grown leaps and bounds this year. They have competed well in the regional final, even though it got a little sideways in the middle of the match. They lost to a very good Brunswick team that cruised in the earlier rounds against Mt. Blue. They played really well against Mt. Blue. I like how they are hitting the ball, I like how they are serving and I am certainly confident they can get us a point.”
In the girls’ Class A final, Falmouth will face Brunswick. In Class B boys’, it will be Camden Hills vs. Yarmouth, while the Caribou girls take on Greely. In Class C, George Stevens faces Waynflete in both boys’ and girls’ matches.
Lewiston’s Cole Ouellette puts a light touch on a backhand to drop it over the net for a winner during his No. 1 singles match against Brunswick’s Dasol Kim during the Class A North championship Tuesday.Lewiston’s No. 1 doubles player Asier Garcinuno sets up for a backhand return against Brunswick during Tuesday’s playoff match.Lewiston No. 1 doubles player Ben Ferrence returns a shot during Tuesday’s match against Brunswick.Lewiston’s No. 2 doubles player Ben St. Laurent hits a forehand against Brunswick during Tuesday’s match in Brunswick.