Lewiston High School’s Asier Garcinuno returns a shot during the Class A state tennis championship match against Falmouth at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday.
WATERVILLE — Cole Ouellette knew the team match was over.
He’d watched his fellow Lewiston High School singles players on the courts next to him shake hands in concession to their Falmouth opponents. Along with a quick win at No. 1 doubles, the Yachtsmen secured the Class A state championship — their third in four years.
But Ouellette, a quarterfinalist at this year’s state singles tourney, was ahead in the second set of his match against sophomore Nick Forester, the runner-up at that same singles tourney.
“He’s such a good athlete,” Lewiston coach Tom LeBlond said. “He’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached. Not maybe the best tennis player, but just a great all-around athlete, that focus he has. He just gets in that zone. And that’s a really good player he was playing (Saturday). He gave him a go.”
Forester rallied to win six of the final seven games and earn a 6-1, 6-4 win over Ouellette and secure for the Yachtsmen a 5-0 match victory over Lewiston.
“I was very impressed with Cole Ouellette,” Falmouth coach Bob McCully said. “He played very well against one of the top players in the state. I was very impressed with how well he played.”
Ouellette’s match was one of two in which Lewiston’s competitors took five games from their Falmouth counterparts. The other came at No. 2 doubles, where Sam Frechette and Ben St. Laurent fell to Matt Adamowicz and Greyson Cohen 6-3, 6-2.
“Our second doubles, they were in it,” LeBlond said. “They lost a couple of crucial games in the middle of the first set that could have made a big difference.”
To win, Lewiston knew it had to snag both doubles points and at least one at singles. Falmouth felt the same way against Thornton in Thursday’s A South final — which is how it played out in a 3-2 Falmouth victory — but Saturday for the Yachtsmen was different.
“Against Thornton, it was the two doubles and then we needed a singles win, which is exactly what we got,” McCully said. “Today, I thought our three singles would be the key.”
Still, McCully added, the doubles matches mattered. They always do. It’s where the 46-year veteran coach concentrates his efforts each season.
“With singles, I tend to get players who know what they’re doing,” McCully said. “In doubles, they don’t always have that kind of experience playing doubles, so I put a lot of work into trying to develop doubles teams. We have five very good doubles players this year, and we were able to get everyone into matches this year. That’s the program. To remain competitive in years to come, you want to play as many as you can.”
Many of Falmouth’s players participate in the sport all year, with ample places to play indoors in their communities. Lewiston’s team, meanwhile? Eight of the team’s top 10 were hockey players this winter for a program coming off back-to-back state titles.
“Id seen all three of their singles players, and I’d seen our No. 1 beat their No. 3,” LeBlond said. “So I thought maybe there was a chance there. But the big thing is, our guys don’t play all year ’round, we don’t hit as many balls as they do, and that shows with some of our, especially in singles, with the timing of the shots where you just have to hit so many balls to get that timing down just right. Either we’re late, or we’re too far through. We’re just not getting to that contact point at the exact time.”
The Yachtsmen’s first point Saturday came from top doubles pairing Jordan Bruce and Trey Fallon, who toppled Ben Ferrence and Asier Garcinuno, 6-2, 6-1. Second and third singles finished at almost the exact same time, with Falmouth’s Alex Klemperer and Peter Stegemann toppling Joe Bisson and Caden Smith, respectively. It was Smith who helped lift the Devils to the state final with a three-set win over Brunswick in the A North final.
“This year (Smith) won some really big matches for us, and that’s going to be big for his confidence next year and going forward,” LeBlond said. “Both he and his brother have the tennis bug now.”
Falmouth loses a couple of players next season, but the Yachtsmen are expected once again to content for a state title as they move to the SMAA conference for the regular season.
“This has been an outstanding group to work with,” McCully said. “They’re outstanding kids, students, they get along well together and with me.”
Falmouth girls win again
The win streak becomes more impressive by the match.
The Falmouth girls’ tennis program extended one of the longest win streaks in the country Saturday, posting their 157th consecutive match win, 5-0 over Brunswick, to earn their 10th consecutive state title spanning Classes A and B.
Saturday’s Class A crown was the school’s fourth in four years since moving up from Class B.
That match featured three straight-sets wins, and two three-set matches, including at No. 1 singles, where Kate Kelley of Falmouth outlasted Kira Wolpow of Brunswick 7-6 (1) in the third set.
Lewiston High School’s Ben Ferrence returns a shot during the Class A state tennis championship match againsy Falmouth at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday.Lewiston High School’s Caden Smith returns a shot during the Class A state tennis championship match againsy Falmouth at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday.Falmouth High School players pose with the state championship trophy after the Class A state tennis championships at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday.Falmouth High School doubles player Trey Fallon serves during the Class A state tennis championships at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday.Falmouth High School doubles player Jordan Bruce returns a shot during the Class A state tennis championships at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday.Falmouth High School doubles player Trey Fallon returns a shot during the Class A state tennis championships at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday.Lewiston High School seniors Ben Ferrence, left, Cole Ouellette, second from left, Asier Garcinuno, second from right, and coach Tom LeBlond accept the Class A state runner-up award after losing in the state final on Saturday at Colby College in Waterville.Lewiston High School’s Sam Frechette returns a shot during the Class A state tennis championship match against Falmouth at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday.Lewiston High School’s Cole Ouellette returns a shot during the Class A state tennis championship match against Falmouth at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday.
Lewiston High School’s Cole Ouellette returns a shot during the Class A state tennis championship match against Falmouth at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday.