Hall-Dale top singles player Naomi Lynch enjoyed a strong run in the state singles tournament. Now, she and the Bulldogs have their sights set on the Mountain Valley Conference championship. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

FARMINGDALE — Naomi Lynch had a goal. And due to bad breaks and unfortunate circumstances, she was running out of chances to achieve it.

As a freshman on the Hall-Dale girls tennis team, Lynch had hoped to reach the Round of 16 of the state individual tournament. As a sophomore, she was on the brink until an injury took her down. As a junior, it was the pandemic’s turn to deny her that moment.

That left her senior year. And one final opportunity to fulfill that wish.

“That’s been one of my biggest goals since my freshman year,” she said. “That’s what I was really working towards.”

Lynch not only reached her goal, she surpassed it. The Hall-Dale ace made the quarterfinals of the singles tournament as one of the last eight players standing in the state, adding further distinction to a senior season that has seemed to follow some fantasy script.

In addition to her singles performance, Lynch is 10-0 for the season as the No. 1 player for a Bulldogs team that shares the same record and will be hosting the Mountain Valley Conference championship against Spruce Mountain on Thursday. She hasn’t lost a regular-season match since her freshman year.


“It’s definitely exceeded what I thought for my senior year,” Lynch said. “I’m so unbelievably proud of my team, and of myself right now. I never would have expected that this was what it was going to look like.”

Hall-Dale’s Naomi Lynch practices on May 18 at the tennis courts in Farmingdale. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Still, all of those regular-season accolades are supposed to matter little in the singles tournament, where the top players of southern and coastal Maine often make short work of the competition. Thrown against those big names, though, Lynch held her own.

“To get this far was like one of the best feelings in the world,” she said. “It may seem insignificant to some people … but to me and my team and my coach, it was a big deal.”

Her coach, Guy Cousins, said Lynch put in the effort to make it happen.

“I’ve been really pleased with her work, and she’s put in so much time outside of the season to get to the point where she’s at today,” he said. “(She’s) just a hard worker, and she’s seeing the benefits of all that hard work.”

Lynch made the Round of 32 as a sophomore, but had to drop out of her match with a wrist injury. She was poised to make a run into the deeper rounds last year, but COVID-19 took away that shot.


This year, she opened as the 10th seed in the state, which meant she had a bye into the Round of 32. But there is pressure that comes with being the higher seed, and when she faced Portland’s Jenna Lederer, the nerves set in.

“I definitely felt the most pressure on Friday,” Lynch said. “I was kind of like ‘I was seeded up there, so I should probably get to that point, at least.'”

With a 6-0, 7-5 victory, Lynch reached her goal. She was in the Round of 16, with a match coming up against No. 7 Coco Meserve of Brunswick, and a new thought took hold. Now the lower seed, Lynch knew she had nothing to lose.

“I was like ‘From here on out, I’m just going to try my best,'” she said. “‘The outcome will take care of itself, and we’ll see where it gets me.'”

It got her a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 victory, and a match-up with No. 2 Blair Hollyday of Cape Elizabeth. Meserve tested her, playing an aggressive style Lynch rarely sees in MVC competition. And Lynch was ready for it.

Hall-Dale senior Naomi Lynch phas enjoyed a standout season this spring. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“When you play that higher level, you can’t really sit back and try to get every ball back, because they’ll just hit winners. So I definitely had to go up to net a lot,” said Lynch, whose run ended with a 6-0, 6-1 loss to Hollyday. “The first set I realized ‘I’m not going to win this by just lobbing balls back and forth.’ She was coming up to net any chance she could. So I had to start hitting by her, and I had to start hitting shots that were hard to get to.”


Cousins said that offensive style wasn’t Lynch’s forte as a sophomore, but it has become her style this season.

“She’s really worked hard on particular parts of her game, and dictating tempo, pace and direction has really been one of them,” he said. “Really being able to read the game, set up the shot and read when it’s there to take it.”

Cousins said Lynch had already shown her will. As a sophomore, she came back from her injury in the C South semifinals, when Hall-Dale played Carrabec. The injury forced her to serve underhand — and she still won.

“(She’s a) tremendous competitor, lot of grit, lot of heart, and she just loves the game,” Cousins said. “And you can see it when she plays.”

Now she’ll try to help her team experience the same sort of run she enjoyed on the individual stage. Five of the nine Hall-Dale players are in their first year playing the sport, but Lynch likes their chances.

“I can’t wait to see where we go,” she said. “Right now, we’re not really paying attention to wins or losses. We’re just trying to play the best tennis we can, and the outcome will take care of itself.”

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