If the Madison boys tennis team (9-1) is to defend its Mountain Valley Conference title, it will have to do so with some new faces. The Bulldogs graduated four of their five top players, with senior Kobe Tibbetts the lone returner.

Tibbetts played well at No. 2 singles and is expected to take over the No. 1 spot, coach Travis Rogers said.

“Kobe has traditionally been a very good defensive player but we do have to strengthen his offensive game. He’s versatile, a great athlete and I’m very hopeful he will have a strong season,” Rogers said.

Juniors Jordan Spaulding and Luke Harper, as well as senior Jarrod Heady, are top contenders to contribute at singles.

Waterville coach Rob Disch enters his 17th season and said his team should contend in Class B North. Senior Soren Nyhus and freshman Charlie Haberstock have impressed in the preseason.

Disch is looking for another deep playoff run, much like the one they enjoyed a season ago when the Purple Panthers reached the Class B North finals before losing to Camden Hills 4-1.

“At singles I think we will be all right. For the doubles, we lost some depth and got a couple of new guys but I’m optimistic and like what I’m seeing,” Disch said.

Mt. Blue looks to build off a strong year that ended with a Class A North semifinal loss to Brunswick. The Cougars should be competitive again this season. They lost four starters but will look to seniors Chris Marshall, Joe Crandall and Alden Thompson-Vought for leadership and experience. The three expected to contend for the top three singles spots, said fifth-year coach Zac Conlogue.

“I think we have a good shot at the state title this year given the strong returning players and their ability to grow,” said Marshall, who added he set a personal goal of reaching the Round of 32 in the state singles tournament.

Elsewhere in Class A, Skowhegan did not return a player from a team that went 0-11-1 last season, but coach Paul Deagle is up for the challenge of rebuilding the program. Deagle is pleased with the new players who have come out this spring, including freshmen Ethan Staples and Dawson Turcotte.

“I decided to step up and coach again,” Deagle said. “There has been a loss of faith in the program and I am trying to bring it back. We want to rebuild the culture of tennis in Skowhegan.”

An interesting storyline this spring is the return of Maranacook after a four-year hiatus. New head coach Matthew Anderson is no stranger to high school tennis, having coached the Fort Kent boys and girls tennis teams for five years.

“This was initiated by the students going to the AD and asking that the team be resurrected,” Anderson said. “I’m really excited. I walked in not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see we have some good athletes and a decent foundation there from which to build from.”

Coming off an 8-2 season in the MVC, solid senior leadership and an impressive group of juniors and sophomores should help keep the Hall-Dale boys competitive, coach Dan Bence said. Seniors MacKenzie Creamer and Neil Stottler and junior Issac Lawrence will be the top players for the Bulldogs.

Cony senior Sean Tenney will be counted on for the Rams this season after playing at No. 1 singles last season for coach Tom Hinds.

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