Swinging to success: Moll earns quarterfinal berth, Butler, Blakeley to Round of 16State singles tourney includes two Windjammers, two Lions, Mariner
Lewiston — A Mariner, Lion and Windjammer advanced to the prestigious Round of 16 — with the Belfast student-athlete earning a berth in the quarterfinals — in recent days during the ongoing Maine Principals' Association's state high school singles tennis tournament.
Oceanside's Cameron Butler, Belfast's Shashanna Moll and Camden Hills' Abby Blakeley continued their play in the tournament on Monday, May 27 at the Wallach Tennis Complex at Bates College in Lewiston.
On Monday, Memorial Day, Moll split two matches, advancing to the quarterfinals, or the Elite Eight, while Butler and Blakeley lost in the Round of 16 that same day.
The trio moved on in the tourney with solid play on Saturday, May 25 on the indoor courts at The Racket Fitness Center in Portland.
The quarterfinals were played later Monday, while the semifinals and finals will be Wednesday, May 29 at Bates College.
Camden Hills' Austin Pohlman also reached the Round of 32 and Belfast's Julia Ward competed in the Round of 48, but neither Midcoast court athlete advanced to the Round of 16.
On the boys side, Butler, unseeded, reached the Round of 16 when he defeated Kelby Mace of Maranacook (Readfield), 7-5, 6-2, in the Round of 48, and beat No. 10 Zack DeBlois of St. Dominic Academy (Lewiston), 6-3, 6-3, in the Round of 32 on Saturday, May 25 in Portland.
"Butler was unseeded and had the disadvantage of having already played a [best] 2-of-3 set match [against Mace]," said Oceanside coach Shawn Dulac. "Butler had to play and beat the fresh number 10 seed. It was great to watch and great momentum for him entering the [regional] team playoffs."
Butler then played No. 7 Satchel McCarthy of Cape Elizabeth on Monday, May 27 at Bates College, as the Mariner fell short, 2-6, 0-6.
Pohlman, who was unseeded, beat Alex Heilner of George Stevens Academy (Blue Hill), 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, in the Round of 48 and lost to No. 5 Sam Leeman of Morse (Bath) 0-6, 0-6 in the Round of 32.
"This was a great experience for Austin as very few sophomores advance this far in the tournament," said Camden Hills coach Chris Walker Spencer. "Austin has improved his game significantly this year and clearly sees what he needs to work on to take the next steps as a player.
"He made great adjustments in his first match, closing out the match with two straightforward sets. Against Sam Leeman, Austin was outgunned by a superior player. Austin put forth a great effort, but couldn't match Sam's combination of power and control."
Jordan Friendland of Lincoln Academy is the top seed and defending state singles champion. Also of note, Isaac Salas of Waynflete, a former Camden area athlete, was ranked eighth before bowing out late in the tourney.
On the girls side, Blakeley, unseeded, earned a bye in the Round of 48, then beat Caty Galligan of Cheverus (Portland), 6-2, 6-4, in the Round of 32 on Saturday, May 25 in Portland, and lost to No. 4 Tiffany Suchanek of Waterville, 2-6, 3-6, in the Round of 16 on Monday, May 27 at Bates College.
No. 8 Moll, who also earned a bye in the Round of 48, beat Maddie Abbott of Deering (Portland), 6-2, 6-0, on Saturday, May 25 in Portland, and Olivia Lopes of Waterville, 6-4, 6-3, in the Round of 16 on Monday, May 27 at Bates College.
Moll then lost No. 1 Maisie Silverman of Brunswick, 2-6, 0-6, in the quarterfinals on Monday, May 27 at the same venue. Silverman is the defending state singles champion.
Ward, unseeded, lost to Lan Zhou of Cheverus (Portland), 1-6, 1-6, in the Round of 48 on Saturday, May 25 in Portland.
The Round of 48 and Round of 32 originally were slated for Saturday, May 25 at Bates College in Lewiston, however, were moved to the Racket & Fitness Center in Portland, an indoor facility, on that same day due to persistent rain around the state.
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Ken Waltz has been member of the media 30 years and has received hundreds of Maine Press Association and New England Press Association awards for his writing, photography and page design. He studied journalism at the University of Maine in Orono. He lives in South Thomaston with his wife, Sarah. The couple has an adult son, Brandon.
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