Tennis Notebook: Mt. Blue boys' finding their groove as the playoffs loom ahead

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The Mt. Blue boys’ tennis team is on a hot streak, having won its past five matches. To win in team tennis, you have have depth, and that’s what the Cougars have this season.

The winning streak started with a victory against Cony on May 4. Last week they defeated Hampden Academy, Bangor and Brunswick at home. On Monday, they traveled to Edward Little for a 5-0 victory.

“I think we have a very deep team,” Mt. Blue coach Zac Conlogue said. “Two through seven on our roster, there’s not much that separates them. We are getting those doubles points. At the beginning of the year, we only returned two starters from last year team. It was a bit of a shell shock for a lot of the kids. Now that we have settled in, I think we are playing some good tennis.”

The Cougars’ No. 2 and No. 3 singles players, Chris Marshall and Joe Crandall, have qualified for the round of 48 at the state singles tournament, which starts May 25 in Portland.

During the streak, Conlogue knows he can count on at least one of those guys to come through for the team.

“Our number two and number three are doing well, so we know we are going to get one of those two points,” Conlogue said. “That makes it easier on our guys and puts a little less pressure on our number one guy (Alden Thompson-Vought).”

Thompson-Vought didn’t enter the regional qualifier for the state singles tournament since he will be in London when the state tournament begins. He will miss the final two regular-season matches as well.

Another key to the Cougars’ success has been the second doubles tandem of Aubrey Hoes and Mike Gurney. At the beginning of the season, he tried many players in that slot. They have been undefeated this season.

As the team hits the stretch run for the playoffs, its final three matches will be against playoff opponents. After an off day Tuesday, Mt. Blue faces Camden Hills, the No. 1 team in Class A North, on Wednesday. On Friday, the Cougars host Lewiston, the No. 2 team in the region.

They opened the season against both teams, losing to the Windjammers in the season opener, 4-1, and falling to the Blue Devils, 5-0.

“They are both good and the lucky thing we get both again,” Conlogue said. “It will be interesting to see if we have improved and to see what happens from there.”

To close out the season, Mt. Blue takes on Bangor, the No. 5 team in Class A North, one spot behind the Cougars.

Big match on tap for Winthrop girls

The Winthrop Ramblers have a key home contest Wednesday against Mountain Valley. First, it’s a match between two of the top teams in the Mountain Valley Conference; the Ramblers are 7-1 this season while the Falcons also hold the same record.

Second, since Mountain Valley is in Class B South when the playoffs roll around, Heal points are at stake since Class B opponents are worth more. Currently, the Falcons are the No. 4 team in Class B South.

Winning could go a long way for the Ramblers.

“It’s really important Heal point wise, because we want to finish high,” Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill said. “We got Waynflete (in our region), we got Maranacook that plays (Class) C, we don’t see Maranacook. The Heal points are worth so much more, especially against B teams.”

Waynflete, the defending Class C champion, is 5-3 this season and is the No. 4 team in Class C South. The Ramblers are currently the No. 3 team in Class C South behind Carrabec (7-0) and Maranacook (8-1), which plays in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

Merrill is glad this match against the Falcons will be played home.

“It’s nice, we know where cracks are so we know how to play our courts well,” Merrill said. “I am glad we are playing Mountain Valley at home. We have four courts and the girls can get out there all night. It’s nice we are not travelling to Mountain Valley.”

After Mountain Valley, Winthrop ends the regular season visiting Madison on Monday.

Hebron finishes the regular season undefeated

On Monday, the Hebron Academy boys’ and girls’ teams swept Fryeburg Academy, and both teams finished 9-0 on the regular season.

The girls’ team pushed its MAISAD winning streak to 37 matches and captured its seventh consecutive MAISAD league title. The boys’ team won its first outright MAISAD title since 2001 after sharing the trophy with Kents Hill last season.

Hebron will host the MAISAD singles and doubles tournaments for both the boys and girls this week, with the preliminary rounds set to start Wednesday at 1 p.m., and the semis and finals scheduled for Friday. Freddy Hohmann and El Yazidi will look to defend their singles championships from 2017.

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