The Presque Isle Wildcats have established themselves as one of the top girls’ tennis teams in Eastern Maine Class B.
PI did lose for the first time this season last Tuesday at Ellsworth by a score of 3-2, but the difference in the match was the forfeiture of the No. 2 doubles match by the Wildcats. The host Eagles are now one of only three undefeated teams in the division.
“Ellsworth is always a top team, so I was very proud of the girls’ performance under these conditions,” said coach Monica Bearden. “Illnesses and injuries are part of athletics, but it makes it difficult on the team when the numbers are limited as they are this year.”
Winning matches against Ellsworth were Hilary Boucher in No. 2 singles, an 8-6 victor over Lily Watanabe; and the first doubles team of Michelle Cawley and Lora Ireland, who bested Lauren Hale and Jose Schmale in a tie-breaker, 9-8 (7-3).
Sara Gilson was beaten in first singles and Sarah Morneault, normally a doubles player, went down to defeat in No. 3 singles.
Presque Isle did win its other three matches last week, 5-0 over Houlton last Wednesday and 5-0 and 5-0 in a doubleheader against Madawaska Thursday. PI was back at full strength for all three of those competitions. The Wildcats are now 7-1 and in fifth place in the standings, behind only Waterville, Camden Hills, Mount Desert Island and Ellsworth.
Coach Brian Massey’s Wildcat boys lost all four of their matches and fell to 3-5 on the campaign. PI was blanked by Ellsworth last Tuesday, 5-0, before dropping a 3-2 decision to Houlton the following afternoon. On Thursday, the ’Cats dropped both ends of a doubleheader at Madawaska, falling 3-2 and 4-1.
PI’s individual wins last week were recorded by Liam Hughes and Mike Michaud in singles against Houlton and by the same duo in one of the matches against the Owls. In the other loss to Madawaska, it was Hughes winning again for PI’s only victory.
On Friday, the regional singles tournament was held at Caribou and the Wildcats fared well with two girls and a boy advancing to the state tourney, to take place at Colby College in Waterville May 30 and 31.
The top seed in the girls’ regional was Gilson, who defeated Isabel Parent of Van Buren in the first round, 8-0, and then needed three sets to top Fort Kent’s Kelsey Pelletier, 6-0, 2-6, 6-0.
Boucher was the fifth seed and she doubled up on Fort Kent’s Alexa Pelletier in her first match before downing fourth-seed Courtney Parent of Van Buren, 6-2, 6-4.
On the boys’ side, Hughes was the No. 1 seed and made it hold up by bouncing Houlton’s Ethan Nickerson, 8-1, and then beating Caribou’s Ethan Plourde in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2.
Also competing for the Wildcats Friday were Blair Bailey, Chris Carroll and Mike Michaud. Bailey shut out Tessa Winship of Houlton, 8-0, before falling to second-seed Erin Patton of Caribou, 6-3, 6-1. Carroll also won his first-round match over Peter Rioux of Van Buren by a score of 8-3, but was shut out by No. 2 Michael Marquis of Caribou, 6-0, 6-0. Michaud was stopped in his opening-round match by No. 3 seed Lance Jandreau of Fort Kent, 8-1.
The Presque Isle teams will wrap up regular season play with a busy final stretch. PI travels to Caribou Thursday and then to Houlton Friday before hosting John Bapst Saturday and the Vikings Tuesday. The playoffs get under way with the preliminary round on June 3.