Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories about the effects of the cancellation of the spring sports season.

Molly Chicoine is going to miss those special moments during her season not only with her Lewiston tennis teammates, but with her coach Anita Murphy — scratch that, with her memere.

Lewiston girls tennis coach Anita Murphy holds last year’s Class A championship trophy with her granddaughter Molly Chicoine, who would have been a senior on this year’s team. Submitted photo

“(Monday) was the first day that I really thought about what I have lost, but what’s been keeping me not as sad is we did win last year,” Chicoine said. “Not a lot of people get to say they are state champs, never mind get coached by their grandmother. I am trying to stay positive.

“It’s definitely heartbreaking, I have been looking forward to my senior year, senior night, playoffs, bus rides with Mem. Those are moments that I was looking forward to this upcoming season. It just really sucks that I will never get that again, (and) not knowing that state (championship) was the last tennis match that I will play.”

The Blue Devils defeated the Scarborough Red Storm 5-0 to claim the Class A state championship last June. Chicoine and her doubles partner, Roslynn Wailus, defeated Amelia Hardy and Mayne Gwyer 6-0, 4-6, taking the tiebreaker 10-7.

Since tennis is the only sport Chicoine played at Lewiston, she was especially looking forward to senior night, the final home match of the regular season. She was named one of three captains for the 2020 season, along with the other two seniors on the team, Maddy Foster and Wailus. Chicoine was looking forward to finding out how much last year’s junior varsity players, such as Julia Paquette and Libby Forgues, were going to contribute to the varsity team this season.

UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITY

This would have been Murphy’s 42nd year at the helm of the girls tennis program. She was already about a quarter-century into her tenure when Chicoine was born, and didn’t anticipate she would still be leading the Blue Devils when Chicoine reached high school.

Lewiston’s Molly Chicoine lines up a backhand during her No. 1 doubles match last June at Bates College. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“I had the opportunity to coach my daughter (Wendy Chicoine-Poutre), she played for me, and for me to able able to coach my granddaughter is really something special,” Murphy said. “It’s not something I expected to do, but where she’s the only granddaughter that I have — Molly is nine, 10 years younger than her brothers (Alex and Ben) — People kept asking me, ‘Now that you have a granddaughter, are you going to stick around and coach her?’ I said, ‘Are you crazy, do you know how old I am going to be when she’s in high school?’

“Lo and behold, we know how fast those years go by.”

A heart attack back in 2008 almost derailed Murphy’s coaching career, but she continued on.

Murphy is the only coach that Chicoine has had, starting the Lewiston Rec. summer program that Murphy oversees.

“It was like running joke in the family, when I was l like 5 years old, with Tiny Tots,” Chicoine said. “My cousins, my aunts, my parents were like, ‘Come on Mem, are you going to stay around, are you going to stay around?’ Growing up watching my brothers be coached by my uncle (Ron Chicoine), Memere coaching all these wonderful girls and watching all the states (matches), that’s what I wanted and that’s what I looked forward to.

“When it got to be my eighth-grade year, I was like, ‘Mem, you got to stay now because I am in eighth grade and next year I will be getting coached by you,’ and she ended up staying.”

As a child, Chicoine saw her grandmother lead the Blue Devils to six straight Class A state championships from 2006-11.

‘INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL’

Though her tennis career was cut short, Chicoine is appreciative for the three years she had playing for her grandma.

“It really means everything to me to be coached by Memere, she’s one of the most amazing people I know, one of the greatest coaches I know,” Chicoine said. “I just can’t believe we made it this far, it’s unfortunate weren’t able to go to my senior year. I am so thankful for every moment that I got with her because no one gets that, but I got her. I am incredibly grateful that I got that opportunity.”

Lewiston’s Roslynn Wailus and Molly Chicoine celebrate after the win over Scarborough’s Amelia Hardy and Mayne Gwyer in No. 1 doubles at the Class A girls tennis state championships match in Lewiston last June. The Blue Devils won 5-0 to claim the state title. Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald

Chicoine, who played doubles for three years, barely missed out on grabbing the third singles spot last year, losing out to Foster. Murphy was looking forward to seeing if Chicoine could crack a singles spot this season.

“She’s competitive, she would have played third singles because she could have,” Murphy said. “She’s a little fighter.”

Murphy thinks her granddaughter is a better-suited to play at doubles because she’s a lefty and can get to some balls better than a right-handed player.

Chicoine merely wanted to be placed in the spot that would have made the team stronger.

“I am perfectly content doing what’s best for my team,” Chicoine said. “I would have played singles and probably would have enjoyed it, but I think I am a doubles player at heart. I loved doubles, it’s my favorite, playing with a partner is a lot more fun than playing on your own. Like I said, if I won that ladder match (against Foster last year), I would have done (third singles), obviously. I would do what’s best for my team.”


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