AUBURN – Everyone on the Lewiston High School girls’ tennis schedule knows that the Blue Devils are deep.

Eighteen players get off the bus at any given road meet. Like the one Monday afternoon at Edward Little High School, for instance. For EL and any other program that is thrilled to find three singles players, two solid doubles tandems and a developmental player of two, it’s an intimidating sight.

This holiday weekend, almost every tennis team in the state will share the same feeling. The top individual players in the state will converge upon the Wallach Tennis Complex at Bates College for the state singles championships on Friday, Saturday and Monday.

Most schools are happy to celebrate having one player in the girls’ draw. A select few flaunt the strength of their ladder with two qualifiers.

Lewiston will be the only team with three, and one of them has been a doubles specialist this season.

“I have had it happen before, but I can’t remember when,” said Anita Murphy, who has coached Lewiston to seven Class A state titles and nine of the last 12 regional crowns. “It was when we were in the (Southern Maine Activities Association) league quite a few years ago.”

Undefeated sophomore ace Chantalle Lavertu is the second-ranked player in the state. She’ll draw a bye and await either Melinda Plourde of Fort Kent or Kelsey Boyce in the Round of 32.

Senior Katelyn Ouellette has dropped only one match all season. She’ll confront Chelsea Norton of Westbrook in the opening round, with No. 3 Hallsey Leighton of Cheverus waiting in the wings.

The unlikeliest member of the trio is junior Julia Bergeron, who moved from No. 3 singles to No. 1 doubles this spring after Ashley McWhorter edged her for the singles spot in preseason tryouts.

With McWhorter scheduled to fly to Texas for a debate team function this weekend, Bergeron stood in as an alternate in the state qualifier and encountered Brunswick’s No. 1 player, Maria Silva.

“When I noticed she didn’t like something,” Bergeron said of Silva, “I just kept doing it.”

Bergeron prevailed in a rout, 6-1, 6-2.

“It was crazy to watch that,” Lavertu said.

“Julia is one of those good tennis players who can play singles or doubles,” Murphy said. “She can adjust her game. It was a pleasant surprise. Julia is a very good lobber. She’s a very smart player, and she figured the girl out.”

Lewiston clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Eastern Class A tournament and another unbeaten regular season with a 5-0 victory over EL.

Few of the Devils’ 11 matches have been close. Messalonskee pushed Lewiston to the limit before yielding a 3-2 verdict. The Eagles will get a rematch in Thursday’s Kennebec Val

ley Athletic Conference championship.

“We’re good,” Ouellette stated flatly. “It’s because we have the feeder program. This is my ninth year playing tennis.”

Lavertu didn’t surrender a game in defeating Rory Chisholm-Drane on Monday.

Ouellette has breezed through several love-love matches as Lewiston’s No. 2. She dispatched Alyssa Bellefleur of Edward Little, 6-2, 6-0.

“Katelyn is a lot more consistent this year,” Lavertu said.

Bergeron and Emilie Cloutier also pitched a shutout against the Eddies, while Julia’s twin sister Audrey Bergeron and Emily Parent dropped only one game in their No. 2 doubles match.

Not to be forgotten, McWhorter got in her last licks before leaving town with a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Hannah Jacobs.

Ranked second in her class, McWhorter is typical of the kind of well-rounded, unselfish players Murphy says have made her job easy.

“I do have the luxury of having some girls that really can play. I just say, ‘I have to play you here’ or ‘I have to move you up’ and they say, ‘OK.’ I’m very fortunate,” Murphy said. “They’re great kids, and they’re having fun. That’s what it’s all about.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.