WATERVILLE — The Waterville and Maranacook girls tennis teams compete in different classes but are venturing down similar paths.

And on Thursday afternoon, the Class B Purple Panthers and Class C Black Bears, both led by their No. 1 singles players, clashed on the North Street Courts. Waterville clinched the match to improve to 7-1. Maranacook fell to 6-2.

Waterville is continuing a winning tradition.

Last year, the Purple Panthers finished 11-5 and won the B North championship. In 2021, the Purple Panthers were undefeated and won the Class B title.

“I’m very happy,” Waterville co-coach Jon Hart said. “We’re always working really hard to constantly improve, and we have a lot of coaches and a lot of support in that. … We got two wins off (Maranacook during Thursday’s match). Last year, we lost all five. We’re just looking to get better and keep grinding, because the season ends quickly. And you’ve got to just keep putting in the time.”

The Black Bears finished last year at 13-2, and fell just short of a Class C title. Like Waterville, Maranacook is a program that finds successful consistency under its head coach.


“I’m very pleased, I lost six or seven seniors from last year,” Maranacook coach Lou Gingras. said. “This is a rebuilding year, and we’re doing great.”

Two of the major reasons both teams have had success this season has been their No. 1 players. For Waterville, it’s senior Karin Zumba, who played at No. 2 last season.

“There’s a lot of pressure (being No. 1 singles),” Zimba said. “But I feel like I’ve been thriving underneath it, and it’s been a lot of fun.

“As I’ve grown, I’ve been mixing my game up and reading (opponents) a little more,” Zimba added. “I’m learning to not just hit the ball back, but to move it around a little.”

Waterville ‘s Zarin Zimba warms up with Maranacook’s Claire Dwyer before a girls tennis match Wednesday at the North Street courts in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“Karin’s played really well this year, and she’s had some tough matchups,” Hart said. “She’s had some battles and she’s had some really good results.”

For Maranacook, it’s sophomore Claire Dwyer, who hit the high school scene with authority as a freshman last season, reaching the top 32 in the state singles tournament.


Dwyer said one area she’s tried to improve on this year is her serve.

“That’s the biggest part of the game,” Dwyer said. “If you don’t get your serve in, you’re not getting the points. And the mental game, that’s the toughest part. Staying in every point, never giving up. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve been working on this year.”

“She’s changing her game slightly, I’ve been telling her to mix it up more,” Gingras said. “Try to not have her be just a power hitter. That’s working out for her.”

Dwyer and Zimba will both be competing in the upcoming singles tournament. They faced each other in the main event match Thursday, with Dwyer coming away with the 6-4, 6-3 victory.

“It was a tough battle, so it feels good (to win),” Dwyer said.

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