Tennis: crucial depth for unbeaten zone teams heading into playoffs

Singles player Inga Zimba from Waterville takes part in the action against Mt. Blue at the North Street tennis courts Tuesday in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson / Morning Sentry Buy this photo

The strategy sounds simple, but it’s true.

For area tennis teams competing in the team tennis tournament this week, depth is the name of the game.

“I think we’ve got pretty good depth,” said Waterville boys’ tennis coach Jason Tardif. “Our doubles team did a great job. I think we have good chemistry, both in our first doubles and in our second doubles. This is what is really going to be the key for us, in the future we are going to have to take care of business in our doubles (matches). I know our singles are pretty strong, and we’re probably going to need at least one or two doubles wins in the playoffs as (the rounds) get harder, taking the pressure off the guys a little bit in singles.

The Waterville Boys are one of four area teams entering their respective tournaments with an unbeaten record, joining the Waterville Girls (Class B North), Hall-Dale Girls (C South) and the Winthrop Boys / Maranacook (C South). Three of the four teams enter the playoffs as a No.1 seed, while the Ramblers – despite having won the Mountain Valley Conference Championship – enter their group as a No.2 seed. behind Waynflete, a Class C school that plays a Class B schedule.

An added feature this season is that tennis, like all spring sports in Maine, will have an open tournament.

The Purple Panthers had three players – Charlie Haberstock, Owen Evans and Josiah Bloom – competing in the state singles tournament. Waterville has been riding lately, winning the last six games of his regular season by a score of 5-0. The only team that came close to beating the Crimson Panthers was Medomak Valley 4th Team, a game that Waterville won 3-2 on May 6.

“We will probably see Medomak in this next round,” Tardif said. “So it will be difficult, because we only beat them 3-2, and it was a pretty close game. But the kids are all excited and eager for the challenge.

The Purple Panthers have a bye to start the playoffs, waiting in the quarterfinals for the winner of No.9 Belfast against No.8 Foxcroft. Players No.12 Erskine (5-7) vs. No.5 Ellsworth (9-3) and No.14 Maine Central Institute (4-8) will also travel to No.12 in the Class B North Men’s Tournament. 3 Old town (8-4).

Much like the men’s team, the Waterville girls enter the B North playoffs as the No.1 seed and have sent two singles players – Inga Zimba and Keira Gilman – to the state singles tournament. . The Purple Panthers are enjoying their first undefeated regular season since 2016, when head coach Devin LaChapelle took over the team. LaChapelle attributed the depth and hard work of his team during the offseason as the reasons for Waterville’s success.

“We don’t just win at specific positions every time,” said LaChapelle. “We are not too heavy or too heavy. We have players in all positions who can win matches. It’s really helpful when you come up against one of those strong teams.

Hall-Dale’s second doubles player Katie Allen hits a return shot at the Mountain Valley Conference Championship Thursday against Spruce Mountain in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal Buy this photo

LaChapelle said he expects strong tournaments from the 3rd Caribou (11-0), a team the Purple Panthers have a history with, and the 10th MCI (5-6), a team Waterville has seen. twice, including a close 3- 2 victory on May 20.

“Caribou are always very tough,” said LaChapelle. “We faced them in the semifinals in 2019, they were undefeated that year. We went to Caribou and narrowly won 3-2. They’re still strong… Another team that I think is underseeded is MCI. They were missing a few key players at the start of the season and suffered a few losses, but they are very strong.

No.8 Erskine (8-2) will also be in the field and face Waterville in the quarterfinals if he can win in the first round. The Eagles nearly passed Maranacook in one game, losing 3-2 to the Black Bears on May 6. Maranacook (11-0) is the second seed of the Class C South playoffs. Rounding out the Class B teams, Gardiner (4-8), who will advance to the South B playoffs as a No.11 seed and meet No.6 York (5-4) in the first round.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Winthrop / Maranacook (12-0) are back in the men’s South C race, as the Ramblers reached the regional final two years ago before falling to Waynflete. But head coach Kelsey Ouellette said the roster’s new talent has helped the team succeed this season, adding help to top singles players Noah Grube and Josh Deanda-Whaley.

“I really saw a lot of potential in the preseason in new players who hadn’t been to college two years ago,” Ouellette said. “But I felt pretty strongly that we could go far enough and that we could have a pretty solid season… It was a good season, it was a very good group of players. Like I said, I saw the potential for that to happen, but it happened all of a sudden: ‘Oh wow, we’re 7-0. Then we were 10-0 and then we won MVCs. So it happened quite quickly, but not necessarily a surprise.

Winthrop / Maranacook will face No.7 Carrabec (2-8) in the quarterfinals. The n ° 3 Madison (8-2) welcomes the n ° 6 Lisbon (3-6) in the quarter-finals. All C South teams will struggle to beat Waynflete (10-1), who has won the last 12 regional finals and Class C titles in a row.

Hall-Dale (11-0) is the girls favorite in C South, having won the MVC title against Spruce Mountain by a score of 4-1 last week. The Bulldogs are led by top singles player Naomi Lynch, who reached the quarterfinals of the state singles tournament and is a perfect 11-0 in singles this season. Hall-Dale will host No.8 Madison (0-8-1) in the quarterfinals. Maranacook will host No.7 St. Dominic (2-9), while No.5 Winthrop (5-5) will hit the road to play No.4 Dirigo (5-5).

Mount. Blue is the top team in the area ranked in the Men’s Class A North tournament. The Cougars (10-2) enter as the No.4 seed and have a first-round pass, awaiting the winner of No.5 Mt. Ararat (8-4) against No.12 Cony ( 3-9). No.6 Skowhegan (7-5) will host No.11 Bangor (1-11) in the first round, while No.9 Messalonskee (3-9) will play No.8 Brewer.

Skowhegan (11-1) will make the A North women’s playoff as the No.2 seed, with a pass to the quarterfinal round. No.5 Mt. Blue (8-4) hosts No.12 Mt. Ararat (1-11) in the first round, while No.7 Messalonskee (3-8) hosts No.10 Bangor (1-11 ) and No.13 Cony (0-11) goes to No.4 Lewiston (10-2).

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