LEWISTON — A fairytale season came to a sudden halt Saturday for the Erskine girls tennis team.

In its first title game appearance in program history, Erskine fell 5-0 to Lincoln Academy in the Class B final at Lewiston High School.

Erskine finishes the year with a 13-3 record. The loss did little to deter an otherwise record-setting season for Erskine head coach Ryan Nored.

Lincoln Academy’s Caitlin Cass, left, is congratulated by teammates Sandra Thelander and Harmony Ingham after Cass beat Erskine Academy’s Ellie Hodgkin, 6-3, 6-0, in the No. 1 singles match at the Class B state championship match on Saturday in Lewiston. Lincoln Academy won 5-0. Staff photo by Carl D. Walsh

“This was the cherry on the sundae,” Nored said. “We got the rest of the sundae, we just didn’t get the cherry.”

Lincoln (15-1) clinched its second consecutive state championship, winning all but three matches during the season by a score of 5-0.

“It’s awesome,” Lincoln’s Caitlin Cass said. “We enjoyed every minute of it. We’re a really close team, and it makes (winning) even better.”

Cass, a sophomore, picked up the most impressive win of the afternoon, beating Erskine’s Ellie Hodgkin 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1 singles. The two had played against each other multiple times during the regular season.

“We’ve played each other before,” Cass said. “In the regular season, I lost in three sets…I think my mindset changed. I started playing like I knew I was going to win instead of playing to defend myself.”

Despite the score, Erskine showed fight throughout, particularly at No. 2 doubles, with Erskine’s Morgaine Kmen and Julia Barber battling Lincoln’s Anastasiya Oliver and Kate Peters. Ultimately, Oliver and Peters won 6-2, 7-5.

“They jell well, they never give up, just typical Erskine kids,” Nored said. “Never gives up, doesn’t matter what the score is, they’re just going to go for it. They settled down and played. I wish they had pulled an upset, I would’ve loved a third (set).”

Lincoln swept the title early, winning its first four matches, which included wins by Fiona Liang (6-0, 6-2 win over Regina Harmon), Emily Harris (6-0, 6-0 over Paige Leary) and the duo of Harmony Ingham and Sandra Thelander (6-1, 6-1 over Jane Blanchard and Kaytie Millay). The match between Cass and Hodgkin closed out the afternoon.

It was the third time the two programs had met this season, with Lincoln taking all three matches. Lincoln also picked up a 4-1 win over Erskine on May 13, and picked up another victory in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship.

“I told (the team Thursday) that there were two avenues we could take (heading into the match),” Nored said. “We could just come in and get killed by a team that we know is really, really good. Or, we can believe. The kids chose to believe. We went in with a strategy. We’ve seen them plenty of times, I had each (Lincoln) kid scouted very well. We had some great ideas. Didn’t happen. Coming in, it was momentum and belief. The kids believed, the kids wanted to win, they thought they had a chance. The better players beat us.”

It was the final match for four Erskine seniors, which includes Hodgkin, Leary, Harmon and Tara Maltese.


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