Lewiston’s No. 2 singles player Ben St. Laurent hits a winner during his match against Camden Hills’ Henry Cooper in June. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Ben St. Laurent believed in himself in his second season as the Lewiston boys tennis team’s No. 2 singles player.

The results showed, as the Blue Devils junior went 14-3 this season during team competition as he helped Lewiston to a Class A North regional final appearance. He also reached the round of 32 in the state singles tournament.

“I think confidence was a big part of it because my freshman year, I was playing doubles and after making the change to second singles sophomore year, it was kind of a big jump,” St. Laurent said. “It took some getting used to. I wasn’t used to singles. After playing over the summer and practicing a little more, I became more comfortable (this year).”

He said he practiced his serve last summer with his dad. He tried different methods to find which one would work for him.

The hard work paid off, with only three losses on the season.

St. Laurent said one of his favorite moment was when he defeated Charlie O’Brien of Camden Hills 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the KVAC championship match. The victory served as proof of the work he put in this season because, as St. Laurent put it, O’Brien beat him pretty badly last season.

O’Brien did get revenge in the Class A North regional final, defeating St. Laurent in three sets as the Windjammers won the Class A North title 3-2.

“I was upset, obviously. I had won the first set and he really picked up and changed his style of play, which was hard because I was winning, thought I could take him,” St. Laurent said. “I know if I would have won, we would have won. I was mad for quite a while, but I see my teammates pretty often and we are a tight group. We didn’t get mad at each other, we just dealt with it.”

Lewiston coach Tom Leblond was impressed with the way St. Laurent played this year.

“Looking back at it, besides our second doubles, he has really been our most valuable player,” Leblond said after the Class A North final loss. “I think he has made, in a lot of ways, the biggest strides as a tennis player out of all our kids this year.”

After the Blue Devils’ lineup being mostly the same the past two seasons, St. Laurent will be the only returning starter next season, but he’s already looking forward to 2020.

“It’s something I have been thinking about because we are losing everybody, I am the only returning varsity player, which is a big problem,” St. Laurent said. “I am doing my best to recruit some guys and playing with the younger guys that are coming up. It’s going to be a different dynamic for sure, but we will be fine.”

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