The big match on the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B side is scheduled for today, with undefeated Camden Hills (7-0) at undefeated Waterville (8-0).

“Camden is our rival, for sure,” Waterville coach Jill Cristan said.

The big thing Waterville has in its favor is some experience. Singles players Colleen O’Donnell, Olivia Lopes and Jayme Saulter were all freshmen last season.

“There’s no freshmen jitters now,” Cristan said. “They’re all strong players. They’re serving well, moving to the net well.”

O’Donnell and Lopes each advanced to the Round of 48 of the singles tournament, while Saulter fell in the second round after suffering a hand injury.

O’Donnell and Lopes have each seen time as the Purple Panthers’ No. 1 singles player this season.

“It’s tight,” Cristan said. “It keeps everyone on their toes.”

* * *

With just three matches left in the regular season, the Madison boys are 5-4 and holding on to the ninth and final spot in the Western Class C playoffs. A win in any of their final matches against St. Dominic (8-0), Lisbon (6-2) or Boothbay (3-4) will clinch a playoff spot for Madison, which is just over six points ahead of Boothbay now.

“We’d like to beat St. Dom’s (today), and if we don’t, we’ll look towards Lisbon,” coach Ron Chillington said.

On Saturday, Madison’s top two singles players, Dylan Price and Hunter Clark, each advanced to the second round of the state singles tournament.

“That was a good lead-in to this week,” Chillington said.

Once concern for the Bulldogs is a pair of doubles teams that are ever-changing, due to challenge matches to decide the third singles spot. The recent rain kept the doubles teammates from getting practice time and learning how to play together.

“Our doubles are in disarray,” Chillington said. “The fact that they’re all coming back next season is a plus. This is a learning season for us.”

* * *

Maranacook’s top two singles players, Jason Laporte and Matt Surette, each advanced to the Round of 48 of the state singles tournament with wins on Saturday. Coach Mike Morin sees their success as the result of the competition they have with each other every day in practice.

“They’re best buddies,” Morin said. “During practice, they’re always going at it. It’s made for good practice sessions.”

Laporte defeated Winthrop’s Dan Miles in the qualifying round, 6-0, 6-2, while Surette beat Max Lally of Edward Little, 6-2, 6-1.

“If one of them had not moved on, I think the thrill of making the Round of 48 would’ve gone away,” Morin said.

Individual accomplishments aside, Morin said Laporte and Surette are focused on team goals, and right now that’s making a run at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title.

“Last year, they started looking at this year as a year we could do something,” Morin said.

The Black Bears are 7-1, the one loss a 3-2 decision to a strong Camden Hills team. Camden Hills won with a victory at No. 1 doubles that went to a third set tiebreaker.

“It was a barnburner,” Morin said. “That was the best we’ve competed against Camden in my 12 years (as coach).”

Along with Camden, Morin sees Lincoln, Waterville and his own team as the contenders in the conference.

“We’re definitely in the mix, I would think,” Morin said.

The Black Bears will find out if they’re in the mix on Wednesday, when they host Lincoln.

“That’s the biggest match we have left,” Morin said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 


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