Lewiston’s Abby Svor returns a shot to Scarborough’s Carie Timpson during her 6-2, 6-1 win in No. 2 singles during the 2019 Class A girls’ tennis state championship match in Lewiston. The Blue Devils won 5-0. Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald

Not too many tennis programs have multiple singles players coming back this season.

One of those teams is defending Class A state champion Lewiston, with the Svor twins   Julia and Abigail and the Blue Devils will lean on that experience as the rest of team gets used to the high school varsity level.

Both are also among the top returning singles players in the state, as Julia reached the round of 16 in the state singles tournament in 2019 while Abby reached the round of 32.

Coach Anita Murphy will rely on her returning players this year.

“With four experienced returnees, my volunteer assistant Lorraine Bowen and I are focused on teaching basic techniques and strategies needed to play in a match,” Murphy said. “First-time players are eager to learn the game, have a great attitude, and are looking forward to the season.”

The other players with varsity experience this season are Lauren Foster and Julia Paquette.

Murphy knows how to coach a team that might not have the experience that she’s accustomed to.

“I think there was one year I lost five of my top seven but we came back (the next year) and did really well,” Murphy said.

The other team that’s bringing back multiple players with singles experience is Spruce Mountain.

Depth will be strong for the Phoenix as Hanni Johnson and Sara Henderson are returning. They were the second and third singles players two years ago. First-year coach Mary Redmond-Luce also has Hannah Coates, who played first doubles in 2019, along with the second doubles team from two years ago in Leah Gilbert and Keila Godbey.

Spruce Mountain only had one player graduate in 2020.

“All returning players seemed to have gained maturity and confidence in match play,” Redmond-Luce said. “We have an exceptional group of young ladies that are strong in both athletics and academics. All returning players have been great at helping the underclassman understand the game and have welcomed all to our team.”

DIRIGO COUGARS

The Cougars are looking for a playoff run again after going 6-5 and earning a postseason berth in 2019.

They will be led by seniors Paige Lueders, Karlei Carrier and Lizzie White, while juniors Abby Thibodeau and Isabella Lindus also provide some experience.

Destiny Newton and Maike Frohn will look to make an impact as newcomers.

The team is also taking it one day at time, coach Kathy Crutchfield said.

“We are trying our best to stay healthy and COVID free,” Crutchfield said. “The weather has been very cooperative this season. Getting outside so soon is very helpful to the team. We are looking to be competitive within our league this year.”

EDWARD LITTLE RED EDDIES

The Red Eddies are looking to continue the momentum from the 2019 season, as they went 7-6 and made the Class A North playoffs.

“Because of no season last year the girls are eager to get on the courts and show their opponents what they got,” head coach Kim Clark said. “The Red Eddies have a small but hard working team. A few girls have been working really hard all winter on the courts. This will make a difference in the team being a contender in the playoffs. The Red Eddies will be a team to watch this season.”

The returning players coming back include senior Molly Vincent and juniors Paige Morgan, Izzy Trombley and Mai Luu.

“The team has been working really hard in the preseason to get ready for the upcoming season,” Clark said. “Low numbers has really hurt us this year, and it seems like a few other coaches have the same concerns. Not having a season last year really hurt us.”

MOUNTAIN VALLEY FALCONS

It’s a learning year for the Falcons this year as they have only one returning player with varsity experience in Rylee Sevigny, who was a second-team MVC all-star in 2019.

Coach Don Fuller will be doing a lot of teaching this season.

“With only one ladder player returning, and two players with primarily exhibition experience back, along with just seven total on the roster, we are focused on bringing everyone up to speed on basics,” Fuller said. “The new players are athletes that are adapting quickly and benefit from practicing with the players with experience.”

MT. BLUE COUGARS

The program has not missed a beat with the lost season as Mt. Blue has seven returning players. That leaves first year coach Griffin Conlogue in good position to start the season. Conlogue has experience as an assistant coach for the boys team since 2016.

“With seven players returning from 2019 that played varsity matches, we benefit from this experience and continuity in the program,” Conlogue said. “Haley Walsh was an all-conference player in 2019 and played in the singles tournament round of 48, and is a captain with this year’s team.”

Conlogue has 18 players in the program this year. He credits the pipeline to former coach Judy Upham.

“I’m not sure if any of the kids are playing just because they’ve been cooped up, as former coach Jude Upham always had a large program with great participation, but having a season with around 50 percent of the players playing for the first time due to the cancellation of last spring is an interesting challenge,” Conlogue said. “The returners have done a great job of helping the newcomers rapidly improve and look ready to compete this spring.”

Some of the new players Conlogue is excited about are Anna Hyde and Emma Charles.

OAK HILL RAIDERS

Learning on the fly is what the Raiders will be doing this season. The team has only has three players and they are all sophomores.

“The girls have jumped in with both feet,” Oak Hill coach Liz Tibbetts said. “They all have positive attitudes, even though they have been taking on singles without the benefit of their freshman year with seasoned players.”

The newcomers are Julia Kronstrand, Alexis Spencer and Ariana Thibeault.

The lack of players will allow Tibbetts to work with each player more this season.

“I definitely have more time to focus on each player,” Tibbetts said. “I have incorporated more instructional videos for the athletes to view in their down time and offered more instruction on how to improve your skills by yourself.”

OXFORD HILLS VIKINGS

Coach Elizabeth Youngs sees potential in this year’s crop of players.

“Having lost out on last season, most of my team this year is still relatively new (with) only two of my returning seniors have played two seasons,” Youngs said. “But I am optimistic that this year will be one of our best. Win or lose, I have so many new players that have so much potential and are already cultivating a team bond that can only enhance their high school experience, on and off the court.”

Youngs feels she’s gotten some new players this season because of the team environment she has been able to create in the previous seasons as a coach.

The first couple of weeks have been very busy for Youngs to get everybody up to speed for the start of the season.

“Considering I’m the only coach, it’s been a bit hectic, but I have managed to keep the focus of new players and have already begun to isolate specific strengths and weaknesses of several players,” Youngs said. “Next step is I’m going to start utilizing my returning players to help condition those players that may be thrown into the ‘varsity deep-end’ their first year.”

ST. DOM’S SAINTS

The Saints will be young this year as they only have two returning players in Mady Boulet and Maddie Tyus.

Despite the lack of experience, the newcomers have potential, according to coach Andrew Girouard.

“Despite being a young team at the varsity level, there are a lot of good athletes on the team,” Girouard said. “The goal is to continue to improve every day and win some matches throughout the season.”

WINTHROP RAMBLERS

The Ramblers were solid in 2019.

Coach Jessica Merrill will rely on the experience of  Hannah Duley and Kerrigan Anuszewski as singles players while sophomore Sophia Blanco will also play singles this year as a newcomer.

“Usually we hit the ground running with a solid core of athletes returning,” Merrill said. “It is definitely a different look this year, so this is really my first opportunity to really teach the game and develop strategy. It is a different mindset with expectations, they are high as usual, but we will have to work hard, learn from other teams and grow as we go.”

Merrill has been focusing on working with the doubles teams this preseason.

“We have had a great competitive atmosphere so far,” Merrill said. “The girls are glad to be out here in the most normal season yet. Our doubles teams are competing and learning the game, we just need experience.”

Some of the double players this year are players she recruited from her field hockey team who were looking to play a sport after not playing a sport in the winter.

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