Tennis: Edward Little's Mya Vincent makes semis at state singles championship, Mt. Blue's Bernardo Tovar first Cougars boy to quarters

·5 min read

May 22—LEWISTON — Edward Little's Mya Vincent reached her goal.

The Red Eddies junior, the No. 4 seeded player, made it through to the MPA state singles tournament semifinals as she defeated Amber Woods of Scarborough, 6-4, 6-3, in the quarterfinal round Saturday at Bates College.

"It feels really good — it has been a goal of mine (to reach the semifinals)," Vincent said. "It feels like a great accomplishment for me."

Vincent took the opportunities that were there for the taking against Woods.

"It was really tough; she's a really good opponent," Vincent said. "Again, being consistent and going for shots when you can is really important."

Vincent said her Round of 16 match with Laura Chapman of Boothbay earlier in the afternoon, in which Vincent won, settled her nerves.

"I was more comfortable out there (in the quarterfinal match); I was a little tired from the (early afternoon) match," Vincent said. "I was glad I was able to start fast."

That first match with Chapman saw Vincent have to battle back in the second set, winning the final five games to take the second set 7-5 to clinch the match after winning the first set 6-1.

Edward Little girls coach Kevin Vincent — Mya's father — said having a long first match served Mya well against Woods.

"I actually think she was tired enough where she wasn't thinking," Kevin Vincent said. "Sometimes that can play into your advantage."

Kevin Vincent said being tired, a player doesn't have any nerves.

Mya said she was working her angles well against Woods and her first-serve percentage was high.

Kevin Vincent said Mya's serve was the key in the second match.

"Her serve came around quite strong in that second match," Kevin said. "She was more aggressive with her groundstrokes."

"At the end of the first set I was in a pretty good groove, and at the end of the second set I felt the same way," Mya said.

Vincent will play the No. 1 seed, Lidia Gomez of Maine Central Institute, on Monday at 9:30 a.m. Until then, she will be relaxing on her day off from competition.

"I am really excited to play Monday and I am glad to have a day of rest," Mya said.

Mt. Blue's Bernardo Tovar was in the middle of a rally when he cramped up in his second set with Falmouth's Sam Yoon in a boys quarterfinal match.

Tovar led 5-4 when he got a cramp in his leg, which forced him to retire from the match.

"It was a great match; it was a close first set, 6-2 (in favor of Yoon)," Mt. Blue coach Zac Conlogue said. "Bernardo looked down for a little bit, but he battled back — he went down 4-2 (in the second set) — but brought it back to 5-4."

Yoon was disappointed the match wasn't able to finish.

"It's unlucky; I wish we could have finished that match, it was a great match," Yoon said.

Tovar had to adjust to Yoon, the No. 4 seed. Tovar was the No. 5 ranked player.

"(Tovar) hasn't played a lot of people at this level," Conlogue said. "Sam is obviously one of the top players in the state of Maine; he hits it with a lot of pace. (Tovar) wasn't moving his feet because he wasn't used to the pace. Once he settled in, he started moving more and he started playing his angles and started to move Sam around. That's when he started having success."

No other Mt. Blue boys player had ever reached the quarterfinals. Tovar defeated Koa Bennett of Ellsworth, 6-2 in straight sets, in the round of 16 earlier Saturday.

Yoon said he let his guard down and tried to conserve energy in that second set.

"I should have hydrated more and maybe ate more," Yoon said.

Yoon defeated Westy Granholm of Mount Desert Island in the round of 16, winning 6-2, 6-0.

In Monday's semifinals, Yoon will take on the top seed, George Cutone of Kennebunk, who defeated Quinn Federle of Yarmouth in the round of 16, 6-0, 6-1, and then Unai Maldonado of Skowhegan in the quarterfinals, 6-0 in straight sets.

"I dictated well with my forehand and my volleys worked really well, had some good placement," Cutone said. "I think my movement, in general, helped me win today."

Cutone had to be careful of Maldonado's serve.

"He had a very powerful serve when it went in," Cutone said. "It was really effective; I really struggled to get (the ball) in. He had a nice forehand, good depth, good targets."

The other boys semifinals is No. 2 Leif Boddie (Greely) vs. Gabriel Naftoly (Berwick Academy). Both boys semifinals are at 9:30 a.m. on Monday at Bates.

The No. 1 girls player, Lidia Gomez of Maine Central Institute, reached the semifinal round by defeating Clarice Bell of Orono, 6-1, 6-2, in the round of 16 and knocking off Sadie Yentsch of Kennebunk, 6-0, 6-1, in the quarterfinals.

"(Gomez) had two awesome matches, different styles from her opponents, and I feel she responded to each of them with cool and playing exactly her game where she wants it and finding answers," MCI coach John Buys said.

Buys said Vell and Yentsch each had some variety in their game in which Gomez used groundstrokes to attack.

Buys has kept his expectations in check for Gomez.

"I knew she could (make it to the semifinals); I was confident in it," Buys said. "Again, there's so many variables you don't want to be overconfident."

The other girls semifinal set for 9:30 a.m. on Monday is No. 2 Coco Meserve (Brunswick) vs. No. 6 Fabienne Novak (Piscataquis Community High School).