St. Dom’s falls to Waynflete in C South girls’ tennis final

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St. Dominic Academy’s Hannah Phelan returns a shot as playing partner Laurel Christopher watches the action during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.
St. Dominic Academy’s Hannah Phelan returns a shot as playing partner Laurel Christopher watches the action during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.

LEWISTON — While a potential rubber match may be a few seasons away given the two teams’ senior-laden squads, Waynflete and St. Dom’s were far more concerned with the tennis on tap Thursday at the Wallach Tennis Complex on the campus of Bates College.

After the Saints earned an ultimately successful trip to the Class C state championship over the Flyers a year ago, Waynflete returned the favor this year, reaching the title game and earning the regional crown by an identical 4-1 margin.

“We had a different team, a different chemistry this year after missing some players last year,” Waynflete coach Linda Cohen said. “They were all back, everyone was healthy and that made a difference this year — a solid year, a good run through the playoffs.”

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A year ago, Waynflete’s roster had a couple of holes due to illness and a class trip. This year, it was the Saints’ roster that was depleted after a singles player fell ill, forcing a last-minute lineup shuffle. Freshman Avery Greco, who’d filled in earlier in the season when top ace Bethany Hammond was sidelined, stepped into the biggest match of her young high school career.

“She had a great match,” St. Dom’s coach Andrew Girouard said. “I was very impressed that Avery was able to step in on such short notice and give their No. 3 player a really good match.”

Greco took an early lead in her match against Molly McNutt before falling 6-4, 6-1.

“I’m excited to see what she’ll be able to do for us the next few years,” Girouard said. “With the seven seniors graduating, it’s essentially going to be a whole new lineup.”

Waynflete, meanwhile, relied on consistency from its seniors to avenge last year’s loss and give the Class of 2017 a chance to earn another state crown.

“The last time we won the state title was when these seniors were freshmen, so it would be nice if they could bookend their high school careers,” Cohen said. “It will be sad to see them go.”

The regular-season meeting between St. Dom’s and Waynflete was a 3-2 match, and both coaches expected more tight play Thursday.

“Earlier in the season it was a 3-2 match. Last year when we played them here it was 4-1 in our favor,” Girouard said. “It just kind of depends on the day. In all the matchups we’ve had the past few years, everyone on both sides have done a great job.”

“When we got them in the regular season, it was at the doubles and third singles,” Cohen said. “They have Bethany Hammond, who’s the No. 3 seed in the state, so Lexi (Epstein) knew she was going to have her hands full. The rest of the team knew we had to win from the bottom up. Second singles got a little bit of nerves, but straightened it out.”

Hammond did get Epstein on Thursday, winning 6-0, 6-4 in the final match of the afternoon. But the team match was over before then.

Kiera MacWhinnie upended Rachel Kurtz, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 2 singles, and after McNutt topped Greco, Sidera Cash-Sortwell and Chloe Fisher defeated K.K. Linck and Kassaundra Stacy, 7-5, 6-2, at No. 1 doubles.

“It was like that when we played St. Dom’s in the regular season, too,” Cohen said. “We had a couple close ones, then they seemed to figure it out. It’s like putting a big puzzle together. Once you get all the pieces, you hope they all fit through the whole season.”

The tightest match of the afternoon was at No. 2 doubles, where Laurel Christopher and Hannah Phelan of St. Dom’s opened with a 7-5 win, but Randall Seder and Almu Canales came back to take the second and third sets, 6-1, 6-2.

“It was a great day and unfortunately things didn’t go our way,” Girouard said. “The Waynflete girls came out and came to play today. We hope they play well in the state finals.”

St. Dominic Academy’s Rachel Kurtz returns a shot during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.
St. Dominic Academy’s Rachel Kurtz returns a shot during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.
St. Dominic Academy’s Avery Greco returns a shot during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.
St. Dominic Academy’s Avery Greco returns a shot during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.
St. Dominic Academy’s Kassaundra Stacy returns a shot during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.
St. Dominic Academy’s Kassaundra Stacy returns a shot during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.
St. Dominic Academy’s KK Linck returns a shot during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.
St. Dominic Academy’s KK Linck returns a shot during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.
St. Dominic Academy’s Hannah Phelan returns a shot during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.
St. Dominic Academy’s Hannah Phelan returns a shot during her Class C South championship match against Waynflete at Bates College’s Wallach Tennis Complex in Lewiston on Thursday.

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