HS tennis: Cloutier through to semis; Weber reaches quarters

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LEWISTON — Emilie Cloutier has come to love the number four.

It’s on the back of her soccer jersey, and on the back of her hockey sweater. Based on last year’s results and this year’s play, Cloutier also drew the No. 4 seed at this year’s MPA tennis singles tournament, held at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex.

“I was kind of surprised I got fourth seed,” Cloutier said, “but I was happy, because that’s my lucky number.”

There was little luck involved in her game Saturday. The Lewiston senior carved out a pair of straight-set victories, the second of which was a 6-0, 6-1 dismantling of No. 5 seed Thu-Trang Ho of North Yarmouth Academy, and reached the state semifinals. This is the fifth consecutive year a Lewiston girl has reached the semifinals.

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“To make it here, it’s hard to put into words,” Cloutier said. “I’m really proud and happy.”

It took a few games for Cloutier to get her legs against Ho, who was coming off a three-set marathon in the round of 16. NYA’s top player tried to bring Cloutier to net and hit a variety of angled balls against her.

“I tried to keep the ball in play because I knew she’d just played a three-setter,” Cloutier said. “It took me a while to get comfortable because I didn’t play net at all at first. When I got to net, though, I knew where I could hit it so she couldn’t make a passing shot.”

Earlier in the day, Cloutier upended Hannah Shorty of Gorham, 6-4, 6-2, in a tough battle.

“She was great,” Lewiston coach Anita Murphy said of Shorty. “That was a good test for Emilie, and a good way to start her out today. It got her ready quickly.”

Cloutier’s teammate, Michelle Nadeau, made it through the first two rounds Friday as an unseeded player, but drew into No. 1 seed Analise Kump’s bracket. Kump dismissed Nadeau, 6-1, 6-1, in a match that was nearly the longest in the round of 16.

“They were the first team we played in a scrimmage at the beginning of the year,” Nadeau said of Kump’s Falmouth squad. “She beat me a lot faster in that match. I felt like we knew how each other played, and I wasn’t going to let her beat me as quickly this time.”

Several of the games in the first set went to deuce, and Nadeau made a habit of firing the ball to Kump’s backhand.

“She had a really, really good backhand, but I felt like that was the safest shot I could go for,” Nadeau said. “I didn’t feel like she could hit it as hard as she could hit her forehand.”

Mountain Valley senior exchange student Toni Weber made some waves in the boys’ bracket. Weber, seeded second in the regional qualifying, was reseeded as the No. 7 overall in the main draw, and he played to his seed, losing in the quarterfinal round to No. 2 Patrick Ordway of Waynflete.

“He was just better than me, honestly,” Weber said. “He is a good player.”

Ordway won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, but Weber made things interesting in the second, breaking to earn a 3-2 lead.

“I had some awesome matches here,” Weber said. “It was a great week for me, to make it to the top eight.”

Waynflete’s top three singles players, seeded first, second and third in the tournament, all made it through to Monday’s semifinals. Bob Tom Flynn of John Bapst, the No. 5 seed, will join No. 1 Brandon Thompson, No. 2 Ordway and No. 3 Devin Van Dyke.

In the girls’ bracket, Cloutier will face Kump in one semifinal, while Elena Mandzhukova of Brunswick will square off against Annie Criscione of Falmouth in the other semi.

All four semifinal matches will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Bates College.

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