2021 high school tennis wrap-up: Brunswick girls rally to bring home Class A championship

2021 high school tennis wrap-up: Brunswick girls rally to bring home Class A championship

The high school tennis season had its share of highlights on the Midcoast, with the Brunswick girls squad winning the Class A title at the top of the list.

“This was a cherry on top for us, just to have a season and to reach as far as we did was a blessing in itself,” said Brunswick girls tennis co-captain Lia Rand after the Dragons defeated Falmouth 3-2 on June 8 in Lewiston for the crown.

The Dragons swept the singles matches to edge Falmouth and win their first state title since 2013.

For a portion of the season, the Dragons were without four of their top five players due to COVID-19 protocols. The Dragons, however, persevered.

“We are so lucky to have a deep and talented team,” said Brunswick head coach Mary Kunhardt, who only had her full squad for five of their 12 regular season matches.

The Dragons dropped just one match all season, a 3-2 loss to Yarmouth.

The Brunswick girls squad also was well-represented at the state singles tournament, with Coco Meserve, Anna Barnes, Ella Perham, and Rand all reaching the Round of 52.

On the boys side, Brunswick’s Calvin Doherty of Brunswick and Zander Chown of Mt. Ararat also reached the Round of 52. Chown was seeded No. 10 heading into the state round.

The Brunswick boys, despite having just nine players, went 10-2 in the regular season and earned the No. 2 seed for the Class A North playoffs. They bowed out to eventual state runner-up Camden Hills in the regional semifinals.

“All of our players were tuned in on improving their play, we had a lot of focused individuals this year,” Brunswick boys tennis head coach Chris Leighton. “Practices were very productive, and because of our low numbers that allowed us to get a lot of practice matches in.”

Elsehwere on the Midcoast, the Mt. Ararat girls had a young team looking to gain experience and earn some wins in what was a down year in the standings. The Eagles finished No. 12 in Class A North and were eliminated by No. 5 Mt. Blue 4-1 in the quarterfinals.

The same went for the Morse boys and girls teams at Morse, which up-and-down seasons.

“It was great to have a postseason,” said Morse boys head coach Steve Boyce. “We played our most competitive match of the season in the playoffs. Despite the loss, it provided our team with great experience.”

The Shipbuilders finished 5-6 and earned the No. 5 seed in the Class B South playofs. They were eliminated by No. 4 York, 4-1.

After finishing as the No. 10 seed, the Morse girls upset No. 7 Mountain Valley in the Class B South preliminary round.

In Freeport, the boys team enjoyed a standout season before falling to Greely in the Class B South semifinals. The Falcons finished 9-3 and picked up a 5-0 playoff win over No. 7 Mountain Valley in the conference quarterfinals.

It was a great season and we fought through one of the toughest schedules in the conference,” said head coach Jay Harper. “I feel as though we could’ve won our (semifinal) match against Greely, which shows the improvement we made over the course of the season.”

The Falcons dropped their regular season match against Greely, 5-0, before losing 3-2 in the semifinals.

After eliminating No. 9 Lake Region 5-0 in the preliminary round of the playoffs, the No. 8 Freeport girls could not overcome eventual state runner-up Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals, losing 5-0.

As for the open postseason, many coaches said they found the format interesting.

“It added a new level of excitement for the team,” said Kunhardt. “Not playing any of the teams before really made us stay more focused and we didn’t take anything for granted.”

Added Leighton: “I’m a fan of playing one match at a time, which we did, but the open postseason was fine.”

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