Saint Dominic Academy girls’ tennis coach Andrew Girouard introduces his team to the Waynflete team prior to the start of Friday’s tennis match in Auburn.

AUBURN — By Friday the St. Dominic Academy tennis teams will have played their entire schedule in the month of May.

The season started on April 13.

The boys’ team will have played 10 of its 12 regular season contests between May 5-25. The girls’ schedule was a little tighter as all but one match will be played between May 6-24. That doesn’t include the state singles qualifying tournament held May 13.

“We been doing different things, boys and girls doubleheaders,” St. Dom’s athletic director JP Yorkey said. “We had a match against Yarmouth the other day, the forecast was good, clear, overcast, but clear at match time, the courts were dry. Got Yarmouth up here and it got a little ways into the match and it started raining. Tennis is one of those sports, when the courts are wet, it’s not safe to play.”

With the move to the Western Maine Conference this season from the Mountain Valley Conference, the boys team may play one school, the girls team may play another. Andrew Girouard, the head coach for both teams, has been impressed by how well Yorkey has been able to reschedule everything.

“I got to commend our athletic director, JP Yorkey, because he’s been trying to balance everything out for us, all the other athletic directors, too, as best as they can,” Girouard said. “We only have so many playable days left, and with school functions coming up, trying not to schedule on them and stuff like that.”

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Unlike baseball and softball, whose regular seasons were extended from May 31 to June 2 by the Maine Principles Association, there’s no such luxury for tennis teams because the regular season needs to be completed by Thursday. Both teams suffer a loss for any matches that aren’t completed.

Looking ahead, Monday’s girls’ match against Yarmouth is being held indoors at Foreside Fitness and Tennis in Falmouth because of the rain that’s being anticipated.

Why the the tight schedule? Multiple factors come into play for the Saints. St. Dom’s isn’t the only school that had to deal with March-like weather for most of May. Schools all over the Tri-County area had to make up matches due to Mother Nature.

Like most schools, St. Dom’s had to deal with the heavy snowpack, which made it difficult to clear the courts. For the Saints, there was a layer of ice mixed in with the snow that made it difficult to snowblow the courts.

Unlike most of the other schools in the area, St. Dom’s tends to start most of their spring sports schedules later to accommodate a senior class tradition — Mission to Mississippi, in which seniors go down to Mound Bayou, Mississippi, during spring vacation.

Yorkey, who’s in his first season as athletic director, knows how important that mission trip is to the seniors.

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“I am not going to complain about that because it’s a great thing these kids are doing,” Yorkey said. “These kids are giving up their April vacation and they are going down there to do missionary work to work with an improvish community.

“It’s just a terrific thing. We aren’t going to complain at all about that. It’s just the reality. It’s just another thing that condenses our schedule a little.”

The entire junior class went to a trip to New York City for a weekend after vacation. Yorkey said this spring season was a good learning experience for someone who was new at the position. He said he will be able to anticipate better next spring.

The seniors have one more hurdle to jump: On Friday, when the state singles tournament begins up at Colby College. Three seniors have matches in the first round, and they hope to make it back to Auburn in time to receive their diploma that evening.

“I told my kids, I don’t want you to miss graduation, but at the same time, we will see what we can do at least time-wise to get an earlier match,” Girouard said. “Right now, that’s looking like the case. Both Noah (Toussaint) and Robbie (Kurtz) are playing in the first round of matches in the morning. Bethany (Hammond) has the first round in the afternoon. If everything works out, hopefully (we) will be back in time for graduation, myself included.”

Girouard is a teacher at the school.

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Trying to stay healthy

With the heavy schedule, the lone time off has been on the weekends, and both Girouard and Yorkey are trying to make sure no one is being overworked.

It has helped that both teams are senior-laden, so many players are already done with school because the seniors spend the final month of school doing community service. The Saints also don’t have a deep enough roster on either team to allow for substitutions.

“Essentially, their only days of rest has been on the weekends,” Girouard said. “We haven’t had any practices since the beginning of the season. Match everyday, going hard every day. I am sure they are tired. With the continued matches after matches, it’s like, ‘Go home get a good night sleep,’ especially when they are seniors they have no more school work. That kind of takes a little load off of them.”

Girouard had to make some lineup shuffling because players had other commitments away from school, but not many because of injuries or resting players.

The kids don’t mind the schedule they’ve had this season.

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“It’s made a big difference, not having practices, to recover,” Toussaint said. “I think it’s good to be ready for playoffs with a lot of matches in a short amount of time.”

The boys team is 4-4 so far this season and are No. 7 in the Class C South Heal point standings, while the girls are 6-3 and ranked No. 5. While both teams have suffered bumps in the road, they say they have been improving along the way.

“It’s been tough on the body, but I noticed as a team we’ve gotten better in a very short amount of time of all the practice we’ve been getting,” Rachel Kurtz said. “We are going against very strong teams. It’s been pretty balanced. There’s some drawbacks, but there’s some positives.”

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Saint Dominic Academy girls’ tennis coach Andrew Girouard watches his team play Waynflete during a recent match in Auburn.

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