Dirigo’s Brandon Harris returns a shot in a doubles tennis match against Hall-Dale Saturday morning at Hall-Dale High School. (Jennifer Bechard photos)

FARMINGDALE — End-of-match drama never materialized in Hall-Dale’s semifinal boys tennis meeting against Dirigo on Saturday.

The Bulldogs pulled off a couple of unexpected wins in third singles and second doubles and coasted to a 5-0 win. Hall-Dale (11-1) advances to the Class C South regional final Thursday at Bates College. Dirigo closes its season at 10-2.

These teams met late in the regular season and more recently for the Mountain Valley Conference championship, and both times Hall-Dale won 3-2, dropping third singles and second doubles matches to the Cougars. Those groups took the court first Saturday against different opponents, as Dirigo coach Bruce Thompson juggled his lineup.

Hall-Dale junior Eli Spahn won in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 over Dirigo freshman Jacob Chow, who he hadn’t played before.

“I thought I was going to be playing someone different,” Spahn said. “You can’t really prepare for it, but as soon as you get out there you’ve got to figure what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are and use that to your advantage.”


Spahn led from wire to wire, running down several tough shots to save points.

“Great wins today, both at third singles and second doubles, points that we had lost in two previous meetings,” Hall-Dale coach Dan Bence said. “It was great to have wins in those two positions to really get us started for the day.”

The second doubles match pitted Dirigo’s Sam Skibitsky and Brandon Harris against Hall-Dale’s Colby Gardner and Eli Page. Hall-Dale won the first set 6-3, but dropped the second 2-6. The third set was back-and-forth, with the Bulldogs eventually pulling ahead 5-4. It appeared momentum shifted back to the Cougars as they fought off three straight match points to even the score at 5-5.

“I’m always concerned,” Page said of the tie score. “Every game it can switch.”

The Bulldogs pulled together, though, and won the next two games to win the set 7-5. Gardner and Page have grown since being teamed together fairly late in the season, especially in communicating with one another.

“The first time we started playing there was barely any (communication),” Page said. “Now, even playing just a few times together, it’s immediately better. It gets better every time.”


Hall-Dale’s No. 2 singles player, junior Issac Lawrence, was halfway through his match against Dirigo’s Nate Child as the second doubles team walked off the court. Lawrence, who is unbeaten this season, struggled to find his serve in the first set but won nonetheless, 6-4, against another new opponent.

“It’s a big adjustment playing against someone who plays a lot more slice,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence found his serve — “I just tried to make sure my toss was in the right position,” he said — and played more topspin in the second set, which he won 6-1 to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead and close out the match.

“Issac Lawrence is a very solid player,” Bence said. “He’s got great strokes. He’s a great kid, easy to coach. He hit a lot of shots that went out in the first set. We dialed that back a bit just to have a little more confidence in his strokes and he did that.”

With the match in hand, the Bulldogs coasted through the final two matches. The first doubles team of Neil Stottler and Orion Bittues defeated Dirigo’s Jack Lavorgna and Nolan Downs, 6-3, 6-0. Hall-Dale senior MacKenzie Creamer wrapped things up with a 6-2, 6-0 win oveer Dirigo’s Brandon Latalian at first singles.

Dirigo’s Jacob Chow returns a shot in a singles tennis match against Hall-Dale Saturday morning at Hall-Dale High School. (Jennifer Bechard photos)

Dirigo’s Sam Skibitsky returns a shot in a doubles tennis match against Hall-Dale on Saturday at Hall-Dale High School. (Jennifer Bechard photos)

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