The Cony girls graduated their top three singles players from last spring. Moving into those spots have been Melanie Guzman, Alli Chase and Bethany Elwell. They’ve helped the Rams to a 2-2 record so far.

“They had never played singles before,” Cony coach Carol Patenaude said. “They’re all doing really well. They were really apprehensive, initially. They thought the singles position might be daunting.”

Patenaude said there are different concerns when playing singles, and one of the biggest is that you no longer have a partner there to settle you down.

“In singles, every point is longer,” Patenaude said. “It’s tougher that way, because you have to stay mentally focused. One of the harder things for all of these girls is they’re out there by themselves. They have to figure it out on their own.”

Because of rainouts, Cony has matches today, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They’re all at home, but it’s still four matches in five days.

“I don’t know (what the effect will be), because it hasn’t happened before,” Patenaude said. “I think the girls have a lot of stamina. None of them are going to give up.”

* * *

The regional qualifying seeding meetings for this year’s state singles tournament will be Wednesday at five different sites across the state. The singles qualifying round is Saturday at seven different locations.

Local boys players will play at the Buker Courts in Augusta or at Lewiston High School. Local girls will play at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham or at Lewiston High. Matches start at 9 a.m. at all three sites.

* * *

Those players who advance to the Round of 48 state singles tournament will not be playing at Bates College as they have in years past. All three days of the Round of 48 (May 25, 26, and 28) will be at Colby College.

“That had to be switched due to a Bates graduation,” said Cooper Higgins, the chairman of the state singles tournament. “There are 10 courts at Colby, and there are only eight at Bates, so it may speed it up.”

The first matches will begin at 8:30 a.m. on May 25. The possible snag is that in case of rain, the indoor site is still the Racket & Fitness Center in Portland.

“The downside is, if it’s indoors, the decision has to be made real early,” Higgins said.

* * *

The Kents Hill boys have a huge match coming up Wednesday at Gould. The Huskies are 9-0 and Gould is 8-1, with the only loss coming by a 3-2 score to Kents Hill.

The Huskies will clinch the Maine Association of Independent Schools Athletic Directors (MAISAD) title with a win. If Gould wins 3-2, then Kents Hill coach Pat McInerney says he isn’t sure how the team champion will be determined.

“We’ve been undefeated two of the last four years,” McInerney said. “Historically, we’ve got some good tennis players. We’ve also got some good athletes who we can coach into playing.”

Senior Dylan Rich leads a strong singles trio. McInerney estimates Rich’s four-year record is 45-4. He’ll play at Manhattanville College in New York next year. Rich won the MAISAD singles title as a freshman and sophomore, but Hyde’s Jon Lee took the title last year. Rich and Lee have split their two individual matches this season.

Behind Rich is Shin Ota, who plays No. 2 singles and came to Kents Hill with a solid skill set.

“He’s a freshman who weighs about 110 lbs., and he’s undefeated,” McInerney said. “He’s almost as good as Dylan.”

Robert Patenaude of Augusta (the Cony girls coach’s son) holds down the No. 3 spot. He’s undefeated in MAISAD play and 6-3 overall. Another Augusta native, freshman Pelumi Odimayo, holds down a strong No. 2 doubles team with Alex Imamedjian.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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