WATERVILLE — John Evans can only remember one other time this season where he and doubles partner Ben Danner walked off the court having clinched a victory for the Waterville boys tennis team. In a regular-season meeting last month with Lincoln Academy, the duo secured the match win for the Purple Panthers with a three-set victory.

On Saturday, with the stakes much higher, Evans and Danner made quick work at second doubles and helped No. 1 Waterville race out to a 4-1 win over No. 5 Ellsworth in the Class B North semifinals at Colby College. The unbeaten Panthers (14-0) face either Caribou or Foxcroft in the regional finals Tuesday morning at Colby.

Evans and Danner rolled to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Dylan Taplin and Keegan Grey for the third and deciding match point for Waterville, only minutes after the first doubles pairing of Adam Livshits and Conrad Ayers secured their own straight-sets win — 6-2, 6-2 — over Peyton Cole and Ben Osterlin.

Waterville’s Adam Livshits returns a shot during a doubles match against Ellsworth in the Class B North semifinals Saturday afternoon at Colby College in Waterville.

“Usually, we’re not the deciding match,” Evans said. “That was nice (today). It was a relief and a really good feeling.”

Waterville coach Rob Disch believes doubles can be a key factor for playoff teams.

“Doubles are huge. They’re big-time,” Disch said. “Depth is key all the way through (the lineup), because it gives you a chance to win numerous different ways.

“All our singles guys are steady, solid singles guys. I think they feel a little less pressure knowing that doubles has their back. It’s not like we’ve got two dominant singles guy, one guy who is so-so and two doubles teams that get beat all the time. All that pressure would be on the singles guys all the time, but the depth we have and our doubles depth takes a lot of pressure off the other guys.”

Livshits and Ayers, both juniors, were paired up at the start of the season and are a perfect 15-0 on the year, including the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship match.

What they may lack in overall skill they make up for in chemistry, Livshits said.

“A lot of teams may have a kid who’s crazy good and you can’t beat them, but when you have doubles it’s more about teamwork than the individual,” Livshits said. “Winning at doubles is super-important for us, because it’s anyone’s game in doubles.”

“It’s important to have good depth,” Ayers said. “Some teams might have two really good players, but if everyone else hasn’t played tennis before, you’re not going to win.”

Waterville’s No. 1 Soren Nyhus won a three-set match against Ellsworth’s Arthur Jodrey (6-3, 4-6, 6-3), while Panther No. 3 Charlie Haberstock took a 6-3, 6-1 win over Andrew McCullough.

Norman Jodrey’s straight-set win over Mohammad Ali Atif-Sheikh claimed the only point for Ellsworth (9-6).

The Purple Panthers’ depth was on display most notably in the doubles matches, where early leads in each set in both matches simply ballooned.

“The way our whole team works is that we’re out here to have fun and enjoy the sport,” Evans said. “We want to be relaxed, but be confident at the same time. I think that’s been our motto all year and it’s paid dividends in the way we’ve succeeded.”

At Colby, site of each of Waterville’s tournament wins this week and host site for regional finals, there are five courts able to field all five matches simultaneously.

Disch likes the layout and how it allows the doubles teams to flourish. Instead of sitting around waiting, seeing a tight match and feeling pressure in a would-be deciding match as the last players on the court, it allows the teams to simply focus on playing tennis.

“They just stick to their game and who they’re playing, and they do their own thing,” Disch said. “That’s huge.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.