Bates College senior and Brunswick High School graduate Maisie Silverman is the captain of this year’s women’s tennis team. (Adam Robinson/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Maisie Silverman estimates she has 10 family members that attended Bowdoin College.

Moving to Brunswick when she was 6 from Boston, Massachusetts, the natural expectation was for Silverman to attend the Brunswick school when the time came. Silverman has played tennis all her life and her Brunswick High School coach was the wife of the Bowdoin tennis coach. All signs pointed to Silverman becoming a Polar Bear.

Not wanting to live so close to home (Silverman says her family lives “literally on the campus”), Silverman searched through the other NESCAC schools, and that’s when Bates tennis coach Paul Gastonguay got in contact with the three-time state champion. The rest was history.

“He just seemed like such a great coach, which is important,” Silverman said. “Also, I am a rhetoric major which is unique to Bates, and it’s like communications, so that was appealing as well. I knew I didn’t want to be that far away from home because I am really close to my family.”

Silverman had pressure on her from the start but embraced it all.

“I knew coming in that I wanted to be one of the top players and I was recruited as that,” Silverman said. “I also, initially, was the main recruit, there weren’t any other freshmen recruited. So coming on, I was always in a sort of leadership position because I was by myself, in a way. I knew I wanted to make an impact and learn from the other girls that are older than me. I knew I wanted to play the best I could and play No. 1 singles, that was one of my ultimate goals.”

From day one, Silverman has been a leader on and off the court. Her goal of playing No. 1 singles was achieved her sophomore year, and she has kept the position through her senior year. The senior is also No. 1 doubles partners with Bella Stone for the second consecutive season.

Off the court, Silverman has a full plate of responsibilities to go along with two hours of tennis practice a day. From volunteering with Special Olympics and giving back to the community in various ways, to finishing her thesis, the senior is always busy.

“I have helped with Special Olympics and I have done a lot with the Student Athletic Advisory Committee,” Silverman said. “We have also done a lot giving back to the Farwell School, we have done fundraisers for food, we also did a hurricane relief fund where we raised over $1,300 over three days, which was really cool.”

For all of her off-the-court work, Silverman was nominated by Gastonguay for the inaugural Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award, created by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and endowed by legendary tennis player Billie Jean King. The award encompasses all three divisions in the NCAA and is open to both men and women tennis players.

Last month, Silverman was named one of four finalists in the entire country.

“I nominated Maisie, not only because she’s our only senior, but she’s also a great candidate for the award,” Gastonguay said. “Her attitude is infectious, but she encourages others to be that way as well. She gives everything and she’s a pretty special kid.”

When she was asked for a headshot by the ITA, it became real for Silverman.

“I said, ‘Wow, this must be a good sign if they’re asking for a photo,’” Silverman said.

After recommendations from Gastonguay and a teammate, Silverman is now working on getting a recommendation from the president of Bates, Clayton Spencer, as the final step.

On the court, the Bates captain has been doing a lot of winning.

After going 7-11 in doubles and in singles matches a season ago, Silverman is picking up right where she left off. An abdominal injury early in the year caused her to miss some time, but the senior is 6-4 in doubles matches and 5-4 in singles matches since the start of the season in February.

Much of the success is attributed to the team’s culture that Silverman has cultivated this season.

“One thing I wanted to focus on this year was to try to transform the team culture and just have everyone be on the same page and have the same goal, really fight for each other, and know that we can really beat any team,” Silverman said. “We have had an amazing season this year. We’ve had some really good wins and I feel like last year it wouldn’t have been the same.”

The team has done well with just nine total athletes, compiling a 7-4 record so far this year. The family feel that Silverman has created has made her final season a special one.

“The way she conducted the offseason was inclusive but also demanding,” Gastonguay said. “They do this all voluntary. They work harder than any other team that I’ve coached. … Her attitude is infectious, but she encourages others to be that way as well. She gives everything and she’s a pretty special kid.”

The hard work Silverman has put in and encouraged others put in as well stems from her love of tennis, which is the catalyst for her goal of becoming an All-American.

“I want to go out every single match and realize, even though how hard it’s going to be, that these are some of the last matches that I’ll play competitively in college,” Silverman said. “It’s just leaving everything out on the court. It would be amazing to be All-American, but I am taking that step by step and I think it’s more about how I compete instead of ‘I need to win.’”

Her brother, Myles Silverman, has had a successful career as a snowboarder as he has been selected for multiple U.S. Junior National teams and is on leave from Hobart College. Silverman had the option before high school to go to boarding school and focus on tennis like her brother with snowboarding, but she declined.

“I wanted to go to high school and wanted to live a normal life,” Silverman said. “This has been what I wanted to do.”

As Silverman’s college career comes to an end later this month, ironically against Bowdoin, the senior captain has come to grips with the finality of her time at Bates.

“I probably will be really emotional, probably cry,” Silverman said. “But I want to live in the moment and obviously everything has to come to an end but the great thing about tennis is I can just play when I am older.”

Bates College senior and Brunswick native Maisie Silverman is the captain of the school’s tennis team this season. (Adam Robinson/Sun Journal)

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