LEWISTON – It was almost like Christine Ordway felt sorry for winning.
Almost, but not really.
“You have to be able to put that aside on the court,” Ordway said.
Ordway, a freshman at Waynflete Academy, played a nearly flawless pair of sets in the mid-day heat against good friend and fellow freshman Chantalle Lavertu of Lewiston in the semifinals of the 2006 Maine Principal’s Association Singles Tournament. She won that match 6-1, 6-3, and went on to win the tournament in the searing Monday afternoon heat with a 6-1, 6-4 win over senior Kristen Meahl of Falmouth.
“My goal was just to play my best tennis and to see how far that could take me,” said Ordway. “As long as you play your best, nothing else really matters.”
Meahl was last year’s runner-up, too. She defeated teammate Hallsey Leighton, another freshman, in the other semifinal, taking that match 6-4, 6-2.
The bigger crowd, though, baked in the sun on the bleachers beside Court 1, where Lavertu and Ordway traded groundstrokes.
“I just had to go out there and get to as many balls as possible,” said Lavertu. “I don’t think that there is anything I did that would change, really.”
Lavertu was the busier of the two athletes, though, as Ordway moved her repeatedly from side to side with tough-angled shots.
“Her string point is her serves,” said Lavertu. “She automatically put me on the defensive. Her groundstrokes were phenomenal, and I had to run everything down. That was the only way I could get points.”
The two friends embraced at the net following the match, and Lavertu came back to watch Ordway compete in the final.
Hampden Academy’s Eliot Potvin, who as a freshman was the runner-up in the boys’ tournament two years ago, defended the title he won as a sophomore, taking a two-set victory (6-3, 6-3) over freshman Mike Hill of Mt. Ararat High School.
And he did it with only partial use of one of his more vaunted weapons – his two-handed backhand.
“It was difficult, but I’ve been doing it for two weeks now,” said Potvin. “I’ve adapted pretty well.”
With his left wrist in a brace, the junior phenom was broken just once and broke Hill three times in their match, which lasted less than an hour and a half.
“He’s a good player, and he’s just a freshman so I’d never played him before,” said Potvin. “I didn’t know what to expect. He’s a good athlete, really quick and got a lot of shots back.”
Hill, meanwhile, was pleased with his effort, especially as a freshman.
“I wanted to give him the best game I had and keep him on the court long enough so it wasn’t like 10 minutes long,” said Hill. “I was pretty happy.”
Potvin took care of Neall Oliver of Deering in the first semifinal, 6-3, 6-1, while Hill, ranked No. 3 to start the tournament, took out No. 2 Parker Swenson of North Yarmouth Academy 6-2, 6-4.
Hill and Oliver may meet again later this week, as Mt. Ararat and Hampden Academy are both on the same side of the team draw in Eastern Class A.