HAMPDEN – The Lewiston High School Blue Devils and their 29-match winning streak were extended to the limit. Cape Elizabeth’s Capers also found themselves in a dogfight in attempting to annex their third straight state Class B schoolboy tennis championship.
But there was no such pressure for phenom Brian Patterson and the Falmouth High School tennis team, who presented 55-year-old Bob McCully with his first state title in his 24 years at the helm of the Yachtsmen.
Due to thunderstorms, the state team tennis championships were held indoors at the Bangor Tennis and Recreation Club instead of at the University of Maine.
Lewiston survived a scare from the Bangor High School Rams before beating Bangor 4-1 for their 30th straight win and second straight Class A crown. Four of the five matches went three sets.
Cape Elizabeth made it three in a row with a 4-1 win over Camden-Rockport in Class B thanks to the freshmen doubles team of Mike Oliviero and J.T. Ervin, who beat Windjammer juniors Jay Mitchell and Ian Sady 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6). Oliviero and Ervin overcame a 5-2 deficit in the first tiebreaker.
Undefeated Falmouth claimed the Class C title with an impressive 5-0 win over previously unbeaten Calais, losing a total of only 14 games in doing so. Falmouth, which never lost a set, was paced by Notre Dame University-bound Patterson, who dispatched Lloyd Ayer in 22 minutes and lost only six points.
Patterson, the two-time state singles champion who is ranked 10th nationally and first in New England in his age group, never lost a singles match in his career in Maine. He did not play for Falmouth during his sophomore and junior years when he attended tennis schools in North Carolina and Florida.
In the Class A final, a stirring comeback by Lewiston sophomore Dave Larock in the third set enabled him to overcome Bangor junior southpaw James Lorenzen, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Larock trailed 3-2 in games and 30-0 on Lorenzen’s serve before rallying to win the game and the match.
“I decided to slow down my game a little bit and that really helped me out. I started concentrating and relaxing more and decided to hit my shots more accurately,” said Larock. “When I picked up the tempo, I had a tendency to hit it long or into the net.”
“That probably won the match for him,” said a disappointed Lorenzen. “He got more consistent, I guess.”
The other key match for the Blue Devils came in the second doubles when Marc Gosselin and Todd Desjardins overcame Bangor’s Adam Elmore and Kirk Allen, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-3. Gosselin and Desjardins and the other Lewiston doubles team of Jeff Alexander and Steve Johansen, who beat Bangor’s Mark Guyer and Lance Lavoie in straight sets, were both unbeaten this season.
Gosselin and Desjardins won the last four games of the third set and Gosselin’s seventh ace of the day clinched it after Elmore and Allen had staved off three match points.
“That was the best competition we’ve had all year beside our own first doubles team,” said Gosselin. “That’s one of the longest matches I’ve ever played in. It was nice to win it. I came up big on my serve today. Getting back-to-back aces when we were down 4-3 in the tiebreaker helped us.”
Sophomore Ethan Field gave Bangor its only point with a three-set win over John Shields.
“I was so incredibly proud of the way our boys played today,” said Bangor Coach Cathy Gordon. “They say Eastern Maine teams can’t play with Western Maine teams. We certainly proved we could play with them today.”
In the Class B match, the win by the 14-year-old Oliviero and 15-year-old Ervin set the stage for Cape Elizabeth’s title.
“I’ve never had to deal with this much pressure,” said Oliviero. “When we got down 5-2 in the first tiebreaker, we had to get ourselves pumped up. I shook my head to get rid of all my nervousness and tightness and started hitting out. It made a difference.”
But Sady and Mitchell rallied themselves in the second set, overcoming a 3-0 deficit to force the tiebreaker.
“We came back a couple of times but we just couldn’t do it (win) today,” said Sady. “We gave them a run. They played great.”
German exchange student Marcus Bosch provided C-R with its only point courtesy of a straight sets win over Gabriel Gordon.
“Our kids scrapped. They worked so hard for every point,” said Caper coach Andy Strout.
In the C final, Patterson was pleased to be able to help provide McCully with his first state crown.
“I’m glad he finally got it,” said Patterson. “He’s a great guy. He’s worked hard for it.”