LEWISTON — None of the current St. Dominic Academy tennis players were born the last time the Saints earned a Class C state title.

Now, none of them will ever forget their most recent triumph.

Laurel Christopher and Hannah Phelan closed out their match against Mattanawcook Academy’s Sydney Morrison and Katey Libby at No. 2 doubles in short order Saturday, earning the vital third point to push St. Dom’s past the Lynx in the Class C state championship at Lewiston High School on Saturday, the Saints’ first state crown since 1995, and third in school history.

“We were nervous, but we were excited to get it done,” Phelan said.

“We achieved all of our goals,” St. Dom’s coach Andrew Girouard said. “We wanted to stay relevant based off of last year’s results, we wanted to win MVCs, we wanted to get to states, and we wanted to win states. We did it all. Mission accomplished.”

The second doubles tandem was field Saturday by an unfamiliar motivator: a loss.

“Until Thursday, they’d gone undefeated all season,” Girouard said. “That was their first loss, and for them to just bounce back to play as strong as they can play, that shows how good they are.”

The rebound was swift.

“Just being confident, communicating with each other, picking each other up when we needed to,” Christopher said. “That’s what we needed to do.”

Meanwhile, as they have done for most of the season, the Saints’ first doubles tandem of K.K. Linck and Kassaundra Stacy set the tone. Doubles being as important as they are in a team match, the early 6-0, 6-2 dismissal of Mattanawcook’s Abby Morrison and Paige Hasseltine gave the southern Maine champs a boost to start the morning.

Rachel Kurtz followed suit. Kurtz was the first off the court in Thursday’s 4-1 win over Waynflete in the regional final, and she nearly was again Saturday in her 6-1, 6-3 win over Ava Broderick.

“I went in ready to go, I wanted to win right off,” Kurtz said. “Many of my matches before this went to three sets, and I just wanted to win, so my teammates could also look over, and be confident in me.”

Clare Kramer, who clinched the regional final for the Saints, closed out Natalie Tilton of Mattanawcook 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3 singles moments after Christopher and Phelan’s win at No. 2 doubles.

The final match of the day also fell the Saints’ way, and also quickly. Bethany Hammond dispatched Ali Hardy at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-1. It’s a position with which Hammond, one of the top singles players in Maine, has become accustomed.

“We know that in most matches, she will be a solid win for us, so we play around that, we play with confidence,” Kurtz said.

The Lynx were far from discouraged with their performance, though.

“We knew this was going to be tough,” Mattanawcook coach Aaron Ward said. “This being our first year making it back in 16 years, we’re really proud of that accomplishment, and we battled as hard as we could, but obviously St. Dom’s is a fantastic team.”

St. Dom’s is the 21st consecutive team from Class C South (or West) to win the state final. The Saints are also only the second team other than North Yarmouth Academy or Waynflete to earn the Class C crown since 1998. NYA has nine titles in that stretch, Waynflete seven, and Winthrop one.

“It’s crazy to think that we’re one of the best teams in the state,” Phelan said. “And it’s all because we work hard every day.”

Mattanawcook hadn’t been to the final since 2000, but have rebuilt the program and hope to be back again in a year.

“A lot of our younger players were unfazed by the way they played today, and our seniors were consistent as well,” Ward said. “The future is pretty bright for us.”

St. Dom’s will shift to the powerful Western Maine Conference next season, but returns all eight varsity players and will look to double up on its success.

“They all played for me as sophomores last year, as well,” Girouard said. “And most of them played on the team as freshmen, too. This is a pretty veteran group we have, and now one more year under their belts, and one more to go.”

Shorthanded Waynflete wins again

In a way, the Waynflete Flyers had been preparing for a day like Saturday all season long.

Beset by injuries, class trips and academic commitments, players from the Flyers’ roster have been missing matches all season long, causing the squad to shuffle lineups on a regular basis, the true definition of “next man up.”

It didn’t matter who was playing Saturday. The team’s depth again shined brightly, and the Flyers soared to a 4-1 win over George Stevens Academy in the Class C boys’ match.

“Every match we had a different lineup because of injuries,” Waynflete coach Jeff Madore said. “I suppose that prepared us for what we faced after four kids, including two starters went on a trip to China this week. We had to revamp the lineup again.”

Top doubles tandem Thorne Keifer and John Van Dyke of Waynflete set the pace with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Aidan Byrne and Leif Lyon-Miller of George Stevens. Shuhao Liu took the next point for Waynflete at No. 3 singles, a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Ben Politte, and Peter Michalakas closed things out for the Flyers at No. 2 singles in a 6-4, 6-1 win over Beowulf Urban.

The Eagles got one point back at No. 2 doubles in a hard-fought, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory from Christian Jones and Kent Fang, but with three points in the bucket for Waynflete, the match was academic.

“You focus on constant improvement, and having a little fun along the way,” Madore said. “That seems to work.”


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