LEWISTON – Chantalle Lavertu probably suspected she was in trouble the moment she climbed out of bed Monday morning.

By the time she started swapping volleys with Hallsey Leighton on Court No. 8 at Wallach Tennis Center in advance of the Maine Principals’ Association girls’ singles semifinal, suspicion gave way to stark reality.

Given three or four days to refuel, Lavertu might have fulfilled her goal of reaching the state final as a sophomore. Instead, her tank thirsting from the first swing of her fifth match in 90 hours, No. 2 Lavertu scrambled valiantly but fell to No. 3 Leighton, 6-3, 6-3.

Leighton, a sophomore from Cheverus High School, broke Lavertu’s serve in eight of nine games and took advantage of a dozen double faults.

“I couldn’t run for anything,” lamented Lavertu, who slipped in the semifinals for the second straight year.

Form prevailed in both sections of the draw, with top seeds Mike Hill of Mt. Ararat and Christine Ordway of Waynflete winning top individual honors. It’s the second straight title for Ordway, also a sophomore.

After sustaining her first loss of the season to Deahna Giguere of Messalonskee in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference team championship on Thursday, Lavertu breezed through her first match in the singles bracket Friday and advanced love-love through her Saturday opener.

Chasing John Bapst’s Erin Flynn from the quarterfinals took 2 1/2 hours. Even though Sunday was an off day, Lavertu had little to give for her encore.

“My thighs, I can’t bend. It was from my match on Saturday, I think,” Lavertu said. “I thought it would be fine today, and apparently it’s not. It was sharp pains. I don’t know. It’s just not my day.”

Lavertu used her other weapons to keep Leighton running, blasting forehand winners and crafting two service breaks of her own in the first set.

But Leighton exploited her weary counterpart in the decisive game, running Lavertu ragged during a lengthy rally and forcing a volley beyond the right corner to earn two set points. After a brief discussion in which both players conceded they’d forgotten the score, Leighton locked it up with a ferocious forehand winner.

“You could see she just couldn’t bend,” said Lavertu’s coach, Anita Murphy. “I think it’s from all the playing and the heat, mostly. She’s disappointed not being able to win in front of the home crowd, but she has nothing to be ashamed of. These are great players.”

A rare, friendly bounce from the let cord gave Lavertu another break and put her back on serve at 2-3 in the second set. Lavertu sat down at courtside and stretched during the changeover before pulling even with her best service game of the sunny, hot morning.

Leighton gutted out three points at deuce to hold her next game, however, and a pair of double faults by Lavertu left the Falmouth resident serving for the match. She breezed through four straight points to apply the exclamation point.

Matching last year’s performance as a fourth seed was hollow consolation for Lavertu, who lost in straight sets to Ordway in the 2006 semis.

“I was hoping to make it to the final. That was really my goal,” she said, adding that if she were healthy, “it could have been different.”

There is no rest in Lavertu’s immediate future. Lewiston opens defense of its Class A state team title on Thursday. Lavertu’s next individual tournament is the USTA Junior Sectional in New Haven, Conn., from June 22 to 26.

“It’ll be my first time,” Lavertu said. “It’s usually the top 32 players in New England.”

Getting a break from Ordway probably wasn’t such a bad thing for someone at less than 100 percent. Leighton held serve in her first try, but Ordway dominated thereafter and breezed 6-0, 6-1 in the final.

Ordway lost a total of 15 games over the weekend tournament.

“I try to be aggressive,” Ordway said, “and not let my opponents relax much.”

Hill was even more unstoppable in the early rounds, dropping only five games prior to his 6-3, 6-4 victory over Sam Hyland of Falmouth.

“The first few games, I just wanted to find out about his game,” said Hill. “That’s normally what I do. Then I started to pick my game up and play to his weaknesses and my strengths.”


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