Lewiston High School’s Lizzy Michaud returns a shot during a Class A North semifinal match against Mt. Blue High School in Lewiston on Saturday.

Lewiston High School’s Lizzy Michaud returns a shot during a Class A North semifinal match against Mt. Blue High School in Lewiston on Saturday.

LEWISTON – Anita Murphy has been coaching the Lewiston girls’ tennis team for 39 seasons. You think she has seen it all in her Hall of Fame career?

Nope, think again.

The 2016-17 season was a new experience for Murphy as her seven-player varsity roster features four seniors and three freshmen.

“There’s always something new every year,” Murphy said. “Every year something new comes up. And you know what? That’s what keeps it interesting in coaching and that’s why I keep coaching. I enjoy and I love the girls and they are greatest group of girls, they get along so well and they respect each other.”

Coming into the season, Murphy didn’t know how the dynamic would work, whether the seniors would be like black bears and reject their young or be like mother hens.

Lizzy Michaud, Chloe Morin, Maddie LeBlond and Zahara Shidad have been the latter for Maddy Foster, Molly Chicoine and Roslynn Wailus.

“I think staying positive, giving teammates a lot of help and tips is really nice,” Wailus said. “They are funny, sweet and couldn’t ask for better captains.”

Michaud, Morin, and LeBlond are the captains on the team and each bring something different to the table. Michaud is more of the mother hen while LeBlond is the quiet leader and Morin is the sweetheart, according to Murphy.

Michaud is always looking around the courts and keeping an eye on the others in between her points, games and sets.

“I like to give the girls encouragement, ” Michaud said. “I think it’s good to let them know they got it, they can do it because our team is consisted of seniors and freshmen. I want the freshmen to know they have it, one point at a time, don’t get down on the last point. I was down 40-love some games and came back to win.”

“I’ve learned a lot because they are very good leaders and always tell us freshmen if we don’t know what to do, they lead us,” Foster said. “I know what to do next year to lead the incoming freshmen.”

As the season is winding down, the freshmen are gaining valuable experience heading into the Class A North regional final against Brunswick at Colby College on Tuesday at 10 a.m. With the seniors graduating, they will be leaders on the team next season.

Lewiston does have sophomores and juniors on the junior varsity roster that will challenge for those open roster spots. Murphy also said there’s a couple talented incoming freshmen as well. She said she has next year in the back of her mind, but she also has to remain focused on this year’s squad.

At the same time, she knows win or lose this week, you can’t throw out the experience gained.

“Lets face it, they are going to remember this day because it’s a three-setter, it was exciting,” Murphy said of Chicoine and Wailus’s victory Saturday over Mt. Blue’s Maeve Hickey and Brianna Jackson in first doubles. “It would have been a great lesson if they did lose because I think it would have been a great lesson. You have to learn how to lose before you can learn how to win. They would have had that lesson because they lost to that team already. I think this prepares them for next year. “

For Chicoine, tennis is in her DNA as Murphy is her grandmother, so she grew up around the girls’ tennis program. While she doesn’t have the “playing experience,” she has seen what it takes to win a championship.

“It’s like I am a freshman and I can be on this team,” Chicoine said if she felt she could contribute in 2017. “It’s been kind of surreal, I have wanted to be on this high school team since I was three years old. It’s an awesome feeling.”

The freshmen haven’t just sat back and learned from the seniors. They have also challenged the seniors and kept them on their toes.

“I loved it, after practice the girls will say ‘can we play triples?'” Murphy said. “It’s a very competitive drill and the freshmen would be like ‘we won, we are going to beat you.’ It was so good, the freshmen did win a couple of times and I think it made them better players too, knowing that the seniors respected them because the seniors could have said we don’t to play, we want to play with the guys. They were very welcoming.”

Morin, who’s the third singles player, found out first-hand how good the freshmen are.

“I had to beat Roslynn, our first doubles player, for this spot,” Morin said. “We are both evenly matched, so it was pretty challenging.”

While the freshmen are new to high school tennis, the seniors have crossed paths with the freshmen.

“They took the initiative, they came in ready and came in and challenged us during challenge matches,” LeBlond said. “We’ve all been playing in the rec. (department) together, so we all know each other.” 

One of the other reasons why the seniors welcomed the freshmen is because they want to make sure the program is in good hands to continue the storied tradition.

“That would be really great,” Morin said. “We have a lot of very good players coming up. It’s going to be like that the next few years as well.”

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Lewiston High School’s Maddy Foster returns a shot during a Class A North semifinal match against Mt. Blue High School in Lewiston on Saturday.

Lewiston High School’s Maddy Foster returns a shot during a Class A North semifinal match against Mt. Blue High School in Lewiston on Saturday.

Lewiston High School’s Zahara Shidad returns a shot during a Class A North semifinal match against Mt. Blue High School in Lewiston on Saturday.

Lewiston High School’s Zahara Shidad returns a shot during a Class A North semifinal match against Mt. Blue High School in Lewiston on Saturday.

Lewiston High School’s Roslynn Wailus returns a shot during a Class A North semifinal match against Mt. Blue High School in Lewiston on Saturday.


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