Top seeds from Yarmouth, Kennebunk win singles state championships

May 20—LEWISTON — There's little doubt that Sofia Mavor of Yarmouth High and George Cutone of Kennebunk know how to serve on a tennis court and they showed it Monday.

The two seniors won the Maine Principals' Association's state singles titles at the Wallach Tennis Center on the Bates College campus in dominating fashion. Both entered as the top seeds and both can claim an unbeaten career in the MPA singles tourney.

Mavor played in and won two tourneys, as a freshman and senior, opting to pursue the USTA junior circuit the other years. Cutone won the three he participated in, also winning as a freshman and sophomore and skipping last year's event in favor of a national tournament.

They are also headed to military academies where they will play Division I tennis and prepare for a career in the armed forces. Mavor will attend Air Force, Cutone the Naval Academy.

"I've grown up playing with Sofia. We actually hit the day before the tournament," Cutone said. "Her making that commitment and deciding to go to the service academies is really cool and to have two state champions go and serve our country that's something that I hope would inspire people to do."

Both champions made short work of their semifinal and final matches.

Mavor lost one game in each, beating defending champion and No. 2 seed Coco Meserve, a senior from Brunswick, 6-0, 6-1, in the final after taking down hard-hitting Falmouth sophomore Sofia Kirtchev, the fourth seed, 6-1, 6-0, winning the final 12 games. Meserve advanced to the championship match with a 6-1, 7-5 win against No. 6 Becca Naftoly, a senior from Berwick Academy.

Over five matches in the singles tournament, Mavor lost three games — the first three she's dropped this season in what has been a happy return to high school tennis.

"I wanted to (win) this for myself for my last year but I also wanted to be a part of the team as well," Mavor said. "I realized how much I missed being part of the team when we first started playing, especially because we have such a wonderful team this year."

A heavy hitter with a hard serve that's difficult to read, Mavor mostly used ground strokes to keep Meserve well behind the baseline. On the few occasions she came to the net she produced crisp volley winners.

"The first match I honestly had a little bit of the jitters warming up and going into the second match I felt a lot looser and more confident," Mavor said. "My footwork was better in (the final) than it was in the first one. I felt pretty good moving around the court and getting into position. Also at the end my serves were going pretty well. I was happy about those."

Meserve did extend the match to about 55 minutes by taking several games to deuce and avoiding the double-bagel by winning the fifth game of the second set despite four double faults.

"Getting to the state championship was my complete goal. That and trying not to lose in 20 minutes," said Meserve, who will pursue her academic career at the University of Virginia. "Sofia, I remember hearing all about her when I was a freshman and she won. I've always wanted to just try to return one of her serves that I've heard about. I had never actually seen her play before this tournament. It was really cool to see her play and actually play against her. I'm just glad I got to make it to the finals and have another opportunity to compete in this fun tournament."

Cutone, the top seed, was even quicker when it came to dispatching foes. He dropped only one game in his five matches and was perfect on Monday, beating Falmouth freshman No. 2 Matt Morneault in the final and No. 3 Will Meyer of Camden Hills in the semifinal, both by 6-0, 6-0 scores.

Morneault was coming off a nearly three-hour, three-set semifinal 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory against third-seed Alberto Cutone, George's sophomore brother.

"George definitely played like I had just knocked out his brother," said Morneault, who was off the court for six months because of a stress fracture in his back. After returning to hitting in February, he's played No. 2 singles for Falmouth during the season but earned the second seed in the tournament by beating Alberto Cutone in a regular-season match.

"I was out from August to February and this was my first tournament since coming back," Morneault said. "I was definitely impacted on the fitness and mental and all that stuff."

Cutone said he didn't need extra motivation.

"I definitely wanted to stay undefeated in this tournament and was able to do so. I just had to treat every match like it could go the distance.," Cutone said.

THE STATE doubles tournament is down to two all-Falmouth finals. This is the first time since 1980 the MPA has sponsored a doubles tournament. Sixteen boys and 16 girls teams were invited. Four Falmouth teams advanced through Monday's round of 16, quarterfinal and semifinal matches and will face off Tuesday at Waynflete's athletic complex in Portland in the championship matches.

In the girls' doubles semifinals, Falmouth's No. 1 team of Gracyn Mick and Gwen Long beat Falmouth's No. 3 of Carley Iannetta and Adele Gamage, 6-4, 6-3; and Falmouth's No. 2 team of Mary McPheeters and Jenna Nunley beat Waynflete's Sara Levenson and Elefe Angle, 6-3, 6-0.

In the boys' doubles semifinals, Falmouth's top doubles team of Charlie Wolak and Eli Sidhu beat Willie Young and Tommy Leggat-Barr of Greely, 6-1, 6-1. Wolak/Sidhu will face teammates Karl Chamberlain and Raymond Li in Tuesday's final. Chamberlain/Li rallied from a first-set loss to beat Thornton Academy's Danny Menard and Cole Purvis, 3-6, 6-4, (10-2 in the tiebreaker).

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