The kings of the Metro League still have the crown.
Spearheaded by precocious freshman Peter Murphy and an all-Crusader doubles final, the Jesuit boys tennis team took the Metro district tournament on Saturday at Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation Tennis Center. Murphy beat Westview junior Luke Lemaitre in the singles final while sophomore Charlie Law and freshman Jaden D'Abreo beat teammates Thomas Kallgren and Thomas Remington in the doubles title match.
Each triumph, while unexpected, spoke to Jesuit's far-reaching overarching talent base. Not many freshmen have been able to come out of the Metro crucible with a district title, but Murphy's superseding skill level and surprising composure were focal points in outlasting Lemaitre.
"It's cool to have people watching you and liking the way you play, that's a cool feeling," Murphy said. "The guys on this team are amazing. They support everybody. They cheer everybody on. It's a really cool experience."
Ironically, Jesuit seniors Edward Murphy and Michael Quinn, program mainstays since their freshmen seasons, settled for fourth place overall. Quinn has three Class 6A state championships on his resume, but he and Murphy were moved to the side by the youthful duo of Law and D'Abreo, who were put together by head coach Jeff Wood.
"Both teams looked like they were playing aggressive and smart while having a little bit of fun out there," Murphy said. "It's hard when you're playing a Jesuit team in the finals. You can't really cheer, but I think each of those teams played well."
Nearly all of Jesuit's team stayed behind to watch the entirety of Peter Murphy's championship match on Saturday, which the freshman said was a testament to the Crusaders' team chemistry.
"It's a great group of guys to be around," Murphy said. "We go out to eat. We have team dinners. We're hanging out in-between matches, talking and laughing. And, it's the little work we put in, just the little extra more that we put in that makes the difference."
Even former stars such as Tommy Mulflur, who's playing at Villanova and Andrew Newell, who's playing at the University of Portland, were sitting in the viewing area high above the THPCTC bubble cheering on their teammate.
"It's really a family thing," Murphy. "When you graduate, you're not with the team, you come back and support it."
Murphy said he wanted to be consistent with his approach, move the ball around the court and try to stay within his personal capacity against Lemaitre. During the regular season, the two finalists engaged in a three-and-a-half hour marathon match that went to three sets, which Murphy won.
Saturday's rematch was similarly lengthy and the last of the four championship matches. But, again, Murphy was able to withstand the Wildcat's rallies for a 6-3, 6-4 win.
"I'm really happy with the way I played," Murphy said. "(Lemaitre) played great, too. I came in prepared for a long, tough match. We both wanted it, but I think my conditioning today is what it came down to. People always say I'm a grinder, but I try to be both aggressive and conservative. I try to have a variety in there."
Lemaitre, Westview sophomore Andrew Vu and freshman Matthew Kim all clinched berths in the Class 6A state championship meet, which runs from May 18-20 at THPTC.