ORONO — For a team that just lost the Class C Northern Maine girls’ tennis championship on a rainy Tuesday morning, the George Stevens Academy Eagles didn’t seem too gloomy.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting this when the season started,” GSA coach Tim Farrar said. “It’s better to win, but it was good to get here.”
No. 2-ranked GSA lost to the top-seeded Mattanawcook Lynx 4-1 at the University of Maine. The teams did not meet during the regular season, which made the matchup unpredictable.
“We knew nothing,” Farrar said, adding that GSA (12-3) and Mattanawcook (13-2) did not even face common opponents.
At third singles, Abby Frost scored GSA’s only point with a 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-3 win over Ava Broderick in a match that lasted well over two hours.
“My idol is Serena Williams,” said Frost, a senior. “I’ve watched so many matches where she has been down in the first set, and then she just is able to mentally revive herself.”
Frost did just that, even when it started raining during their final set.
Farrar attributed Frost’s success to her consistency.
“It’s about whoever makes the fewest mistakes,” Farrar said, “who can keep the ball in play.”
Mattanawcook took an early 2-0 lead, with first doubles team Abby Morrison and Paige Hesseltine defeating GSA’s Hunter Morris and Tatianna Heggestad 6-3, 6-0, and the second doubles team of Sydney Morrison and Katey Libby beating Juliana Allen and Grace Hyland 6-2, 6-2.
Lynx top seed Ali Hardy clinched the title with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Erin Niehoff to give Mattanawcook a 3-0 lead. Natalie Tilton edged Lindsay Nevin 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 for the Lynx’s fourth and final win. The title is Mattanawcook’s first since 2000.
As for the Eagles, Farrar and Frost both said that, at the beginning of the season, they didn’t expect to make it to the regional final.
Throughout the regular season, GSA notched a rare win over Ellsworth and nearly topped Mount Desert Island — both Class B teams.
“I had no idea we would even make it to this point,” Frost said. “We’re just really proud of how far we’ve made it.”
Mental resilience appeared to be a strength for the Eagles both on the court and off. One GSA player demonstrated this after their loss when she interjected a suggested interview question for her coach.
“Ask him where we’re going for lunch,” she said.