FRYEBURG — The Fryeburg Academy girls’ tennis team opened the regular season with a home match against Mountain Valley on Thursday afternoon. The visiting Falcons edged the Raiders 3-2 in a thrilling contest which down to the wire.
Coach Chris Chaffee was proud of how well his Fryeburg troops competed.
Fryeburg jumped off to a 2-0 lead with wins at the No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles
Captain Marra MacMillan won comfortably 6-1, 6-1 against Alana Young in singles action.
“Marra's patience and consistency helped her cruise to the win,” said Chaffee. “Alana was playing steady tennis and Marra needed to stay focus to come out on top.”
Fryeburg’s No. 2 doubles tandem of captain Alana Cinci and Riley Miller captured their first win together in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3, over Valley’s Allyss Shaffer and Jakira Hershkowitz
“Alana played doubles two years ago for us,” Chaffee said. “Her experience combined with Riley's competitiveness had them firing on all cylinders. Alana and Riley work well together. Riley works hard and is improving. She wants to do well. Alana has good court awareness and has developed nice ball control in doubles. She can place the ball well especially down the middle which was a key strategy in their doubles match.”
The No. 1 doubles was a see-saw match that needed three sets to decide. MV’s Lauren Pepin and Ella Young, rallied from a first set deficit to win the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 over Fryeburg’s Chloe Sartory and Ainsley Foster.
“Chloe and Ainsley came out eager and strong to take a close first set 6-4,” said Chaffee. “It was their first competitive match but they were playing like veterans and with nothing to lose.”
Pepin and Young pulled out the second set 6-4, setting the stage for a final set.
“Mountain Valley came up with some well-placed volleys to seal the match,” Chaffee said, adding, “There were a lot of good exchanges and points in that doubles match. I was impressed with the way Chloe and Ainsley both played. They gave their best effort. In the end, someone has to win and it just came down to a few key points that didn't go our way. Chloe and Ainsley should hang their heads up high because they never gave up.”
There was another three-setter in the No. 3 singles which saw Valley’s Emily Richard win a nail-biter over Raider Naomi Harper 6-1, 6-7 (7-5 in the tiebreak), 7-6 (7-5).
“This match had so many long and grueling rallies,” said Chaffee. “Naomi kept her fighting spirit throughout the whole match. She was down but refused to lose. The match could have gone either way. Again sometimes in tennis, it has to do with a little bit of luck. Naomi's inner determination and the drive showed how she wasn't going to back down.”
The final match which went on as darkness started to fall with the temperature dropping produced some top-flight tennis with MV’s Rylee Sevigny topping FA’s Daryna Serediuk 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
Rylee wasn't missing anything and was executing her shots in the first set,” Chaffee said. “Then Daryna was able to settle her nerves and play up to her ability and potential as the two shared breaks of serve in the second set. Both players were backboards. Running down everything and having rallies that were on an average 10 shots or more. Neither player missed and both willed themselves to keep going. It came down to another tie-break for the second set where Rylee ended up pulling it out.”
He added: “Daryna played extremely well. Rylee knew she had to earn that win and was just barely to escape that second set. Good on her to do so. Daryna stayed mentally tough and physically driven to go the distance.”
Chaffee shared his thoughts post-match.
“I am proud of how well the girls competed,” he said. “They may have not won the match on paper, but walking off the court they did. They displayed champion-like attributes and winning qualities. With the support of some parents, staff and our Athletic Director Sue Thurston there watching, it was a great moment. I was very honored by how the girls conducted themselves, with such integrity.
“Their true characters were on display for what defines them as individuals, as a team and playing for their school — Fryeburg Academy. They represented their school with courage and grace. Playing their hearts out and showing a lot of inner belief in all of your starting players is wonderful to see. They played awesomely and gave 100 percent every point while staying positive. This team is really special. Every player on here is improving and learning. It's going to be a great season no matter what happens.”