The Packet Sports Spotlight
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 6, 2013
Eagles tennis team on a roll to the state finals
Junior and team captain Alex Heilner smacks a return against Evan Mingo of Calais on his way to a 6-1, 6-2 win in a quarterfinal match played at home on May 31.
by Anne Berleant
The George Stevens Academy boys tennis team routed its opposition to earn a berth in the State finals. Saturday, June 8, they will play either Waynflete or North Yarmouth at the Bangor Tennis Center.
“We got pretty good depth compared to the teams we’ve played at this time,” said coach Larry Gray.
Seeded #2 behind Madawaska in the Heal Point standings, the boys received a bye in the preliminary post-season match and earned home match advantage for the next two rounds, breezing past Calais in the quarterfinals on May 31 and Fort Kent in the semis held the next day.
Calais was missing its top player, Gray said, and didn’t pose a big challenge for the Eagles, who won the match 5-0. First singles player Johnny Xue posted a 6-0, 6-0 win, as did second doubles team Leo Yuan and Nate Boechat.
The match against Fort Kent, who lost to the Eagles last year in the regional finals, was tougher, Gray said. But the results of 5-0 looked the same.
In fact, the team hasn’t dropped an individual match since it lost 3-2 against Mount Desert Island on May 3. That was eight matches ago.
The team faced #1 seed Madawaska on June 5 in the regional finals, and won 4-1.
“If we can play to our level, we should beat them,” said Gray, prior to the match. “I think we’re stronger throughout. But you never know.”
The girls team finished 10-2 for the season and were ranked fifth heading into the post season. They posted a 5-0 win in the prelims against Lee Academy, but lost 3-2 in the quarters against Piscataquis. Both doubles teams “won in pretty easy fashion,” said coach Tim Farrar, but none of the three singles players could squeeze out a win—although senior Yi Zhang came close in a tight three setter (4-6, 6-3, 6-4).
“There was a lot of enthusiasm,” Farrar said. “We had a very good season.”