Camden Hills takes advantage of forfeit to dispatch Caribou in playoff matchBlakeley, Vannorsdall earn wins at first, third singles in postseason victory
Rockport — The Camden Hills girls tennis team started its Eastern Class B quarterfinal playoff match against No. 11 Caribou on Thursday, June 5 with a leg already up on the competition.
As it turned out, that advantage proved the difference in the match.
The No. 11 Vikings were forced to forfeit second doubles due to a lack of players. Factor that and the top-tier play of Windjammers Abby Blakeley and Katie Vannorsdall, and the hosts had just enough firepower to fend off the visitors and sail into the semifinals with a 3-2 win.
The teams played pro sets Thursday on the indoor courts at the Midcoast Recreation Center due to time constraints.
The Windjammers (12-1) will play at No. 2 Waterville (13-0) on Saturday, June 7 at 1 p.m. in a semifinal playoff match.
The Purple Panthers, also the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B champions, beat No. 7 Old Town (7-7) 5-0 in a quarterfinal match.
Camden Hills lost to the Purple Panthers 4-1 during the regular season and did not play the Coyotes.
Caribou (7-7) defeated No. 6 Erskine Academy (7-6) in a prelim playoff match to advance to face Camden Hills.
Caribou's forfeit at second doubles was a shock to everyone, including Camden Hills co-coach Dave Cook.
“We didn't know until they got here,” he said. “But when the coach walked in he told me that they were going to have to forfeit number two doubles. It is nice going into a match knowing you already have one point.”
The individual results, with Camden Hills players listed first, were: In singles, Blakeley beat Erin Patton, 8-1; Carrie Helmholz lost to Makayla Bouchard, 4-8; and Vannorsdall beat Clara Collins, 8-1.
In doubles, Hannah Olsen and Sophia Landry lost to Bria Judd and Conner Spencer, 2-8; and Camden Hills won by forfeit at second doubles.
With the overall match score tied 2-2, the focus of the shifted to center stage where Blakeley and Patton took the court with their respective teams' postseason lives hanging in the balance.
Blakeley won the first five sets before Patton secured one of her own. However, Blakeley breezed throughout the rest of the match in three straight sets, sending the Windjammers onto the semifinals.
As it turns out, the Windjammers will be without Blakeley in the semifinal round, thus, the talented senior may have played in her final high school match.
“I graduate tomorrow and all my family is here, plus I have to work later in the day Saturday,” she said. “So I'm not going to make it.”
So, Blakeley played as if she did not have a care in the world. And it showed.
“At this point I'm kind of stress-free about everything,” she said. “I wasn't really too concerned. In the four years I've been on the team we've never played Caribou so I was kind of a little nervous I guess because I didn't know the level of play.”
Blakeley added that Patton was “pretty good” as she was “very consistent and she had a very low serve that was hard to get down to.”
Cook said Judd and Spencer “attacked the net and controlled the net” throughout their match, while Bouchard “was very solid and steady” for Caribou.
Of course, Blakeley and Vannorsdall took care of business in their matches, as they have several times throughout the season.
Cook said he plans to slide Helmholz and Vannorsdall each up one rung on the ladder and likely put Sophia Landry in to play at third singles in Saturday's semifinal match.
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Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. He has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School.
Mark is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, fantasy sports, the AMC drama "Breaking Bad" and iced coffee.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn and sons Beckett and Austin.
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