TOPSHAM – Lewiston High School boys’ tennis coach Ron Chicoine has been nervous enough in his three-plus years at the helm, but only once has that nervousness been met with a loss.
Early in Monday’s postponed match against the Mt. Ararat Eagles, Chicoine’s worries were nearly justified, but a gaggle of newcomers pulled out a pair of doubles victories to help the Blue Devils fend off their toughest opponent to date.
“Our doubles teams came out tight,” Chicoine said. “They knew it was a big match, and they knew they had to win. We knew Mike Hill was a stud at No. 1 so we needed a point in doubles. They straightened it out, though.”
Freshman Ben McDonough and senior newcomer Toby Poirier fought off Andrew Tufts and Josh Dennison at No. 2 doubles in the clinching match to lead Lewiston (6-0) to a 4-1 win over Mt. Ararat (5-1) at the Topsham school.
“We needed this match a long time ago, just to see where we were,” said Mt. Ararat coach Donald Foley. “They’re good, there’s no question about it, and I think we’re going to see them again.”
Moments later, sophomores Matt Letourneau and Devyn Cote closed out Justin Simpson and Troy Kittle for the final point. Neither doubles team had a solid start, though.
“Down 3-0 and down 2-0, we had to settle down, get under control and play less aggressive,” said Letourneau. “They made mistakes, we realized that and started playing much smarter.”
“The first three games I wasn’t hitting the ball at all,” said McDonough. “I couldn’t get my serve in or anything.”
While both doubles teams sputtered, Lewiston No. 1 James Morin ran into his toughest opponent in three years. Morin lost to Hill, a freshman, in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.
Hill was humble in his win, noting even that Morin was “easily (his) toughest opponent so far.”
“He got a lot of balls back and he’s a great player,” said Hill, who has dropped just two games in six matches all season. “He has a good serve and some good footwork. All the games were close.”
At the other two singles positions, Mike Sarrazin and Mike Butler of Lewiston had little trouble disposing of Taylor McGovern (No. 2) and Nate Rohman (No. 3), each winning 6-0, 6-0 in less than one hour.
“We thought Nate might come a little bit closer, and we’re kind of shocked by that,” said Foley, “but they’ll be back next match.”
Lewiston will likely not face another title contender until its final match of the season against Brunswick, a team the Blue Devils have already defeated 5-0. The Eagles, likewise, will see Brunswick later this season and will also be jockeying for top Heal Points as the season crosses its halfway point.