Confident all spring in his Maranacook girls tennis team’s chances of having a special season, coach Lou Gingras admitted he was having doubts when the moment of truth arrived. The Black Bears were in a tight Class C South final battle with Carrabec but trailing 2-1, and Emma Wadsworth had dropped the first set of a No. 2 singles match the team needed her to win.

“I was really starting to get nervous about whether we could pull that off,” Gingras said. “After her first set I just told her ‘Play your game, you’re a good tennis player. Don’t be forced into playing your opponent’s game.’

“She ended up going up 4-1 in the third set, and I kind of had the feeling at that point that she had taken control and good things were happening.”

Historic things, even. Wadsworth’s 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory, finished after Madeline Dwyer wrapped up a victory at No. 1 singles, gave the Black Bears a 3-2 win and their first regional title in program history. Along with it came a berth in the Class C championship match at Lewiston High School against Mattanawcook Academy on Saturday at 12:45 p.m.

“After a few matches (this season), we felt good about our possibilities,” Gingras said. “When Emma finished the match to win it, the girls were really excited. They all hugged, smiles on their faces, it was incredible.”

To notch that final victory and upgrade to a state crown, Maranacook (14-1) will have to conquer the unknown. Gingras said the team has no scouting report on the Lynx, who are 15-0 and led by Natalie Tilton, a senior who advanced to the Round of 16 at the state singles tournament.

“We’re going in totally blind, as far as knowing anything about them,” he said.

The key, Gingras said, will instead be for the Black Bears to focus on their own games. Nerves are an issue at this time of year, and he said he saw them pop up in that down-to-the-wire C South final.

“I know that probably half the team was nervous about playing, and that showed in what they were doing on the court,” he said. “My players have to play their game, and not be intimidated into playing someone else’s style of game. Luckily, they were successful doing that most of the season and we were able to pull off some good, strong victories, because they kept things under control.”

Gingras said the team will follow the lead of his top two players. Dwyer and Wadsworth both made the 48-player singles tournament field, and they’ve been steady and reliable as the Black Bears have kept winning.

“They have pretty big experience behind them,” Gingras said. “The jitters are there, but it’s trying to keep them under control. That’s the first thing we talked about. It’s just another tennis match. Go out and play your game, and hope for the best.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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