Lewiston High School’s boys’ tennis team hasn’t dropped a match since 2003.

This year, the team kept that streak alive with a thrilling comeback in the state final against Windham.

But that moment would have mattered much less had the Devils not even made the state final. And it wouldn’t have meant as much if the team had dropped a game during the regular campaign, which Lewiston completed unblemished for the sixth consecutive time.

Getting to the state title game was a mission of sorts, and no other player on that squad could better be dubbed the commander of such a mission than Mike Butler.

“The No. 1 player sets the table for the rest of the team,” Lewiston coach Ron Chicoine said. “If he isn’t there, the lineup is totally different.”

And not nearly as effectient.

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In at least two matches this season, Butler’s point at No. 1 singles made the difference between a win or a loss, including one three-setter against Mats Haaland of Brunswick.

“And he’s not just a No. 1 player, but he guts out big matches,” Chicoine said. “He did that for us this year.”

Butler began his high school tennis career at No. 3 singles, and worked his way to the top last season. Twice, he made it to the state singles round of eight, and four times he’s tasted victory at the state team championships.

But for all of his personal accomplishments on the court, part of what makes Butler tick is his ability to make the rest of the team better around him.

One example Chicoine used was Eric Hall’s emergence this season. As a doubles player last year, Hall’s serve was his weak spot.

“Mike worked with Eric all last year and in the off-season,” Chicoine said. “This year, he had one of the best serves on the team. It’s things like that that define who Mike Butler is.”

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Hall made an appearance at No. 3 singles by the end of the season, too.

Butler, meanwhile, calmly went along with his own business, though. Chicoien called Butler “a true gentleman.”

“He was always respectful of the underclassmen on the team, and of everyone on and around the courts,” Chicoine said. “As a senior, sometimes, there can be a tendency to feel like you’re above some of the other players on the team, but he’s never, ever been that way. He’s helped make the whole team better.”

For his accomplishments on the court this season, and for his demeanor and dedication to the game, Mike Butler in the 2009 Sun Journal All-Region Boys’ Tennis Player of the Year.

2009 Sun Journal All-Region Tennis Team

Singles

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Mike Butler  Lewiston

Scott Gagne  Lewiston

Sebastian Ghisalberti  Fryeburg

Danny Gleason  Edward Little

Guy Jenkins  Lisbon

Ben McDonough  Lewiston

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Doubles

Tyler Arsenault  Winthrop

Nate Blanchard  Winthrop

Richard Bressard  Monmouth

Alex Chicoine  Lewiston

Keagan Cote  Lewiston

Cory Dyke  Monmouth

Eric Hall  Lewiston

Eric Morin  Lewiston


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