Jun. 5—BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick girls tennis team’s minds are focused intently on the matter at hand.
That was clear Saturday in the Dragons’ 4-1 win over Lewiston in a Class A North regional semifinal.
Moments after her match, Brunswick’s No. 1 singles player Coco Meserve said she didn’t know who the top-seeded Dragons’ next opponent is, despite third-seeded Hampden Academy having clinched its spot in the A North final with a 3-2 win over Skowhegan on Friday night.
“We’re all very excited and we’re trying to go with the flow right now, just see what happens,” Meserve said.
Meserve, a freshman, continued a successful run through her first high school postseason with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Lewiston senior Abby Svor.
Meserve, though young, has a lot of tennis tournament experience outside of high school, but she said that Svor’s strong, seasoned mental aptitude is noticeable, and that it required Meserve to step up her own mental approach.
“I feel like I played very steady,” Meserve said, “and I was just trying to go back to my basics; when I was getting nervous, go back to what I know I can do. …
“I just wanted to stay in control of my feelings so I could stay in control of my game.”
Brunswick took an early 1-0 lead when Emily Davison and Sadie Levy earned a 6-0, 6-1 victory in No. 2 doubles over Emma Omiecinski and Claudia Cucubica.
Then, within a short span of time, Meserve completed her win over Abby Svor and Anna Barnes beat Julia Svor 6-2, 6-2 in No. 2 singles.
That gave Brunswick a 3-0 lead, which officially earned them the match victory and a spot in Tuesday’s regional final. It happened so quickly, that it took a few moments for the Dragons to recognize that the day’s mission was accomplished.
“Super proud of them,” Brunswick coach Mary Kunhardt said. “It’s hard when you’re going into a competition to stay level-headed, and you never know what’s going to happen, so they stayed calm and they did well.”
Kunhardt added: “Lewiston’s tough, tough competition every time. So, we just played well.”
The fourth-seeded Blue Devils were still putting up a fight in the two remaining matches.
Lewiston’s No. 1 doubles duo of Julia Paquette and Libby Forgues gave Brunswick’s Lia Rand and Abby Sharpe all they could handle before bowing out 6-2, 6-4.
“They had a good match,” Lewiston coach Anita Murphy said of Paquette and Forgues.
Four of the five matches were decided, but the No. 3 singles match between Brunswick’s Ella Perham and Lewiston’s Lauren Foster was more than an hour away from being settled.
“We don’t really try to get winners, we’re both like, wait-until-the-other-person-messes-up type of players,” Foster said. “So that’s probably why it took so long.”
Their first game took about a half-an-hour to complete — so while players in the other matches were flipping their score cards, Foster and Perham were going back and forth, returning hit after hit.
Finally, Perham took the first set 6-4.
Foster said she found out fairly quickly that the Blue Devils had lost. But she still had plenty of motivation to win her final high school sports contest.
“I still wanted to at least get one point,” Foster said, “(not lose) 5-0 against Brunswick — I wanted it to at least be 4-1.”
Foster took a 4-1 lead in the second set but had to fight to finish off a 6-2 win.
At that point, the match had been going on for two hours and 10 minutes. Perham and Foster decided that instead of another hour-long set, they wanted to settle their showdown through a super tiebreaker — first one to 10 wins, if she leads by two points.
Perham controlled the early portion of the tiebreaker and led 5-2.
“I think that I started to realize, like, I’m losing right now. In my head, I’m like, ‘Lauren, you need to get in this,'” Foster said.
Foster slowly chipped away at the deficit and tied Perham at 7-7. Perham went up 8-7, then Foster earned the next two points to lead 9-8. Then Perham evened the score at 9-9.
Of course: by the time one of them reached 10 points, she was only going to lead by one.
Foster hit a deep shot that stayed in bounds to lead 10-9 and then Perham’s long shot barely cleared the back line to give Foster 11 points and the match.
“I thought she did great, because she knew we had lost the match already,” Murphy said. “So I said, ‘Do it for yourself.'”
Lewiston’s season concludes with a 12-3 record, all three losses coming against Brunswick. Murphy said she was proud of how the Blue Devils played Saturday.
“I think we did really well. We won a lot of games against them,” Murphy said. “I think it could have gone either way.”
Brunswick (13-1) will face Hampden (11-3) for the A North title at Lewiston High School on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
Barnes, a junior who reached the quarterfinals of the singles state tournament last month, was a freshman switching between singles and doubles in 2019 when Lewiston, on its run to a state championship, beat Brunswick in the regional final.
“We lost to Lewiston, which was a huge blow, so we’re so excited right now,” Barnes said.
“We’re just really excited, motivated.”