Capers spoil storybook state championship ending for WindjammersCape Elizabeth wins third state crown in five years
Portland — The Camden Hills and Cape Elizabeth boys tennis teams squared off in a preseason match at the Allen Insurance and Financial Challenge April 11 on the indoor courts at the Midcoast Recreation Center in Rockport.
The tournament was supposed to showcase three of the top high school boys court teams in the state, and that is exactly what transpired as the Windjammers and Capers ended the season as it started — against one another — in the state Class B championship match on Saturday night, June 14 on the indoor courts at the Racket and Fitness Center in Portland.
Both teams had yet to hit their stride in the preseason match two months ago, which the Capers won in a tight 3-2 affair.
And while the Windjammers have gone on a run to play their best of the season when it mattered most, so did the Capers Saturday — and it showed.
Cape Elizabeth (14-2) claimed the state title with a decisive 5-0 win over Camden Hills (13-3). It is the second straight state title for the Capers and their third in five years. Cape Elizabeth also bested Camden Hills 5-0 in the 2010 state final.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Camden Hills coach Noah Capetta of his student-athletes. “They played awesome. The two doubles matches that we won in the preseason were both very close today, so those could have gone either way. Their singles players are extremely strong. We knew going in what we were up against.”
The state final originally was slated to be played at Bates College in Lewiston, but the match was moved indoors and to a new venue due to rain in Saturday's forecast.
The individual state match results, with Camden Hills players listed first, were: In singles, Austin Pohlman lost to Gabe Torres, 1-6, 1-6; Matt Morse lost to Eli Breed, 0-6, 1-6; and Josiah Krul lost to Luke Gilman, 0-6, 0-6.
In doubles, Josiah Simko and Alex Forcillo lost to Ethan Murphy and Jack Hall, 4-6, 7-5, 5-7; and James Annis and Colby Arau lost to Jack Tierney and Connor Sullivan, 5-7, 5-7.
Camden Hills was the fourth seed in Eastern Class B and defeated No. 5 John Bapst 4-1 in the quarterfinals, upset top-seeded Ellsworth 3-2 in the semifinals and Midcoast rival and third-seeded Oceanside 3-2 in the regional final to advance to Saturday’s state championship match.
Cape Elizabeth was the top seed in Western Class B and defeated No. 8 Fryeburg 5-0 in the quarterfinals, No. 4 Lincoln Academy of Newcastle 5-0 in the semifinals and No. 3 Yarmouth 5-0 in the regional final to advance.
Thus, winning 5-0 became a playoff theme for the Capers.
On Saturday, Gilman made quick work of Krul to put the Capers ahead 1-0 and Morse fell shortly after to Breed to push the Windjammers into a quick 2-0 hole.
Gilman advanced to the semifinals of the Maine Principals' Association state singles tournament a few weeks ago.
Annis and Arau rallied late in the second set, only to have Tierney and Sullivan rattle off five straight games to win in straight sets — and clinch the state crown for the Capers.
Simko and Forcillo dropped their first set, but rallied in the second to force a third and decisive set — with the outcome of the match already decided.
Despite a valiant effort, the Windjammer duo fell in the third of three competitive sets between the first doubles teams.
The focus then shifted to the first singles match between Pohlman and Torres, which saw Torres give the Capers a clean sweep.
Despite the loss, Capetta said his team has much to look forward to — next year and beyond.
“We have the whole team back next year,” the coach said. “We have a very young team. I have three starting freshmen, a sophomore and three juniors. So everyone’s coming back and we know what we need to work on for next season. We have a young crew with a lot of potential and a lot of opportunity for development.”