WATERVILLE — Last week, the Waterville Senior High School girls tennis team won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference title. Now, the Purple Panthers have their eyes on bigger hardware.

“We’re trying to go all the way. That’s the ultimate goal for each team. I think we can do it,” Emma Cristan, the team’s top singles player, said.

The Panthers took the first step towards that goal with a 5-0 win over Oceanside on Thursday afternoon at Colby College. Waterville (13-0), the No. 2 seed in Class B North, will take on No. 3 John Bapst of Bangor (12-1) at noon Saturday at the North Street courts. No. 7 Oceanside ends the season at 8-6.

In a Class B North boys quarterfinal match, No. 6 Hermon (11-3) rallied to defeat No. 3 Waterville (10-3) 3-2.

The Waterville girls clinched the win quickly, with three decisive wins in the singles matches. Cristan beat Clara Seltus, 6-0, 6-1. At No. 2 singles, Sammi Saulter took a 6-2, 6-2 win over Mary Allen. In the third singles match, Maggie Brock defeated Molly Davis, 6-4, 6-0.

“I knew (Seltus) is a strong player, but I beat her when I played her before, so I felt really confident coming into the match,” Cristan said.


When Waterville and Oceanside met in the regular season in late April, the Mariners kept the match close with a pair of wins in the doubles competition. This time, the Panthers swept doubles. Cristina Romiro and Nora Greene earned a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 win over Emma Lee and Gabby Simmons in first doubles. At No. 2 doubles, Madeline Greene and Sophie Weston beat Erin Dugan and Jasmin Bouchard, 6-3, 6-1.

“They believe in themselves. They’re playing stronger. Placement was beautiful. Doubles communication, they’re just so in sync with each other,” Waterville coach Jill Cristan said. “The serves on doubles, that’s our strongest point right now, getting our first serve in and being able to capitalize on our return and putting it away. Serving was the key (Thursday). Never giving up on that point, doubles especially. They just didn’t give up. They stayed strong.”

The Hermon boys quickly found themselves down 2-0 to Waterville when the Panthers won both doubles matches. John Violette and C.J. Gaunce won at first doubles for Waterville, 6-2, 6-1, over Ben Phair and Colby Whittmer. In the second doubles match, Mike Bolduc and Ethan Cayer took a 6-2, 6-2 win over Enrique Bustillo and Matt Sforza.

The Hawks began their comeback with a win at No. 3 singles when Eric Byers beat Mohammad Ali Sheikh, 6-4, 6-1.

Both first and second singles matches went three sets, with Hermon coming back from down a set in each. In the first singles match, Waterville’s Soren Nyhus beat Alex Marsh, 6-4, to gain the advantage. After Marsh took the second set, 6-4, Nyhus quickly took a 3-0 lead in the decider. From there, it was all Marsh, who won six consecutive games to take the 6-3 win and tie the team score, 2-2.

At No. 2 singles, Waterville’s Bridger Holly took the first set from Mat Allen, 7-5. Allen rebounded with a strong 6-0 win in the second to set up the third set, where he took a 6-4 win to send the Hawks to the semifinals to face No. 2 Camden Hills.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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</URL>Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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