There is an age-old adage that injuries are a part of athletics, but the toll those injuries can have on a team — especially one with high expectations — can be both frustrating and devastating.

No one understands this better than veteran Camden Hills girls tennis coach Karen Brace, whose squad has won 13 of 14 matches this season, including a 4-1 quarterfinal playoff victory over visiting Belfast Friday, but must move on in the postseason without another key team member.

The Windjammers finished 12-0 during the regular season and their overall talent and depth made them among the favorites to win regional and state titles. Then injuries to key players crept into the equation.

First, the squad lost No. 1 singles player Emma Blakeley to injury and now has learned that No. 2 singles player Carissa English, who had moved up to No. 1 singles to fill Blakeley’s void, will no longer be able to continue playing this season. Blakeley and English have arm and shoulder injuries respectively.

Blakeley, a junior, and English, a sophomore, are among the top players in the state, thus significant losses to a team with state-championship visions.

However, the Windjammers must forge ahead, which they did Friday. No. 1 Camden Hills (13-0) beat No. 8 Belfast (7-6) 4-1 in Friday’s Eastern Class B quarterfinal playoff. The Windjammers won at second and third singles and first and second doubles, with English having to forfeit/retire due to her injury.

The Windjammers will host No. 4 Waterville (12-1) on Monday, June 6 at 1 p.m. in the regional semifinals at the Midcoast Recreation Center. This season, Camden Hills split with the Purple Panthers, beating them 4-1 during a regular-season match when able to play at full strength and losing 4-1 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship match without a few regular players, including Blakeley.

Brace said while she certainly is disappointed by the injuries to her top two players, she is encouraged because the young student-athletes are determined to be healthy next season. She said tennis is an important part of life for both Blakeley and English and both have been, despite being sidelined, positive role models for the other players.

The individual results from the Camden Hills and Belfast playoff match, with Windjammers listed first, were: In singles, English lost to Shashanna Moll, 4-5 (retired); Abby Blakeley beat Rosie LaCivita, 6-1, 6-1; and Camilla Walker beat Makaila Gould, 6-1, 6-4.

In doubles, Erika Alex and Sophie Salas beat Alisha Wilson and Krissy Martin, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4; and Kayla Hart and Christine Forcillo beat Sierra Warner and Elizabeth McAvoy, 6-0, 6-4.

Brace said the second doubles match was exciting and the “highlight of the day.”

Village NetMedia Regional Editor/Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at