ORONO—After dropping the last regular season match 3-1 to Orono, the George Stevens Academy tennis team avenged that loss when it counted, taking a 4-1 win over the Red Riots in the Class C North championship Tuesday, June 7 at the University of Maine.
Ben Politte made quick work of his match against Orono’s Ben Blood, winning in straight sets 6-0, 6-2 as George Stevens took an early 1-0 team lead. Beowulf Urban won his match over Sam Sheppard in similar fashion, claiming second singles by a score of 6-1, 6-0. First singles competitor Matt Stephens lost his match up to Takumi Hoshima, 6-2, 6-1 in the only loss of the day for the Eagles.
In doubles action, both matches went into three sets, with both George Stevens teams coming away with the wins. Kent Fang and Christian Jones won their match over Thor Van Walsum by a score of 6-0, 5-7, 6-2, and Aiden Byrne and Leif Lyon-Miller won 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 over Alex Ferguson and Brandon Hines.
“We knew it was going to be a battle, especially after we dropped that last game against them [to end the season],” said head coach Mark Ensworth after the match. “We were consistent today, though, not beating ourselves and really playing well.”
Ensworth is a first-year coach for the George Stevens Academy Eagles, noting that the regional win was a big relief.
“It feels great, definitely,” he said.
Going into the state championship, Ensworth said his team will need to keep an open mind, but that the pressure is off of his players.
“We’re fortunate now that whoever we play, the pressure is on them,” he said. “We just need to play our game and do our thing.”
The Eagles have won the regional title the last six years, falling in the state finals to Waynflete. In the last 10 years, GSA was won the title nine times; they last won the state title in 2004.
The state championship is scheduled to be played in Lewiston Saturday, June 11. George Stevens will play the winner of Hall Dale and Waynflete.