HAMPDEN — Waterville seniors Charlie Haberstock and Owen Evans had been in this situation before, just five days ago, actually. That didn’t make it any easier.

With the Waterville boys tennis team trailing John Bapst in the Class B North championship Thursday, Haberstock and Evans — the Purple Panthers top two singles players — were on the court needing wins to push Waterville to the state finals. When Evans won at second singles, Haberstock knew the entire match fell on his shoulders.

“I think it’s something you never get used to. It’s so much pressure. It’s not a situation I particularly love. You just try to stay as calm as possible,” said Haberstock, Waterville’s No. 1 singles player.

For the second time this week, Haberstock and Evans won when the Panthers needed them. Habstock’s 7-1 victory over Sean Flynn in their second set tiebreaker was the difference, sending Waterville to the state championship match for the first time since 1998, when the Panthers won the Class A title.

Waterville (15-0), the top seed in the North, will face Yarmouth in the Class B championship Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Lewiston High School. No. 2 John Bapst ends the season at 13-2.

“We knew that would be a tough match for Sean right from the start,” John Bapst coach Jason Hoyt said. “At the end of the day, they had more depth.”

Just like in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Medomak Valley in the regional semifinals, Waterville fell behind 2-1 with its top two players yet to complete their matches.

On Thursday, Haberstock took the first set easily, 6-1. In the second set, Flynn played more aggressively, hanging with Haberstock to force the tiebreaker.

14415# 01tennis HAMPDEN, MAINE JUNE 10 2021. Waterville’s Nicholas Poulin, right, returns the ball as he and teammate Cole Bazakas, left, battle John Baptist’s Leo Wlodkowski and Levi Peterson during the No. 2 doubles match in Hampden, Maine Thursday June 10, 2021. (Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel) Buy this Photo

“Sean, he’s a great player and he had kind of a slow start. He started playing very well,” Haberstock said. “For me, trying to stick to my most consistent shots and not trying to end points too quickly (worked). Being patient is a big part of it.”

Waterville began the day with a victory at first doubles, with Logan Tardiff and Jay Brock defeating Quinn Breen and Khanye Gogdell, 6-1, 6-3. The Crusaders then picked up wins at second doubles, with Leo Wlodkowski and Levi Petersen edging Cole Bazakes and Nick Poulin, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, and at third singles, with Sam Poth taking a 6-3, 6-4 win over Josiah Bloom.

Evans defeated Max Poth 6-4 in their first set and was confident he could win the second and even the overall match.

Waterville’s Charlie Haberstock serves the ball while competing against John Baptist’s Sean Flynn during the No. 1 singles match in the Class B North regional final Thursday in Hampden. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

“To win points, I knew I was going to have to be focused and really patient,” Evans said. “I felt like bringing (Poth) in and then lobbing him was what worked best.”

Evans led the second set 4-1, before a left leg cramp flared up and Pot was able to pull even, 4-4. Tired, Evans said one thing helped him refocus and win the next two games to win the match.

“Knowing I didn’t want to play a third set. I probably would’ve lost a third set. I was like, ‘All right, let’s finish it right here.'”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

Related Headlines


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.