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Mostul, Nguyen win third-place thriller

The Sherwood girls finish in 4th place in the team standings at the state tourney
by: DAN BROOD, WE DID IT — Sherwood junior Courtney Mostul (left) goes to hug Nancy Nguyen after they scored the winning point in Saturday’s state tourney third-place match.

BEAVERTON - The pressure was mounting.

Every big point was followed by an even bigger point.

Momentum - it seemed to go back and forth over and over again.

The bevy of emotions seemed to be running at a fever pitch.

But, in the end, it was all jubilation and celebration for Courtney Mostul and Nancy Nguyen.

Mostul and Nguyen, both Sherwood High School juniors, ended their tennis season in spectacular, winning fashion as they scored a hard-fought 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (9-7) win over Summit's Hannah Shephard and Morgan DeMeyer in the Class 5A state tournament girls doubles third-place match held Saturday at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.

'I wanted it so bad,' Mostul said following the victory.

'That was ridiculous,' Nguyen added with a smile.

With their third-place finish in doubles play, Mostul and Nguyen helped the Sherwood girls cap off a spectacular season with a fourth-place finish in the team standings at the three-day tournament, which also included matches played last Thursday and Friday at the Portland Tennis Center.

'It's been a really fun year,' Sherwood coach Jim Krauel said.

And the Lady Bowmen's fun year ended up with an exciting victory in Saturday's girls doubles third-place match.

The Sherwood duo seemed to take control early in the match. They won the final four games of the opening set to win the set by a 6-2 score.

But Shephard and DeMeyer bounced back strong in the second set. They won the opening three games of the set on their way to getting a 6-2 win. That sent the match to a third set.

And that's where things really got interesting.

The third set was close throughout, as the teams found themselves tied at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5. With the score tied at 5-5, and with DeMeyer serving, Mostul and Nguyen were able to break through, winning a deuce game to take a 6-5 lead.

But the Summit team came right back, winning the next game to tie the set at 6-6 - sending the decisive third set to a tiebreaker.

Summit took a 1-0 lead in the tiebreaker, but Mostul and Nguyen came roaring back to win the next four points, taking a 4-1 lead.

The Sherwood duo upped their tiebreaker advantage to 6-2, giving it three match points.

But, in this contest, nothing seemed to come easy.

Shephard and DeMeyer won the next four points to knot up the tiebreaker at 6-6. The Sherwood team answered back, as Mostul scored on a shot at the net to give the Bowmen a 7-6 lead. But Summit won the next point, tying things at 7-7.

Sherwood regained the lead at 8-7 when DeMeyer couldn't get Nguyen's serve back over the net. Shephard then double-faulted giving Mostul and Nguyen a 9-7 tiebreaker win and third place.

'That was so exciting,' Mostul said. 'We stepped up and played our game.'

'Mental toughness was big,' Nguyen said. 'And I think we really helped each other. We never played together before this year. That made this so much better.'

Mostul and Nguyen opened the state tournament last Thursday with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Alana Chaplin and Maddy Corbin of Corvallis. In Friday's quarterfinal round, the Sherwood duo bested Danielle Hite and Julie Meunier of Crescent Valley 6-4, 7-6.

Later on Friday, Mostul and Nguyen fell 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals to the top-seeded team of Sarah Hawman and Emily Stocker of Hermiston. It would be Mostul and Nguyen's only loss of the season.

Their win in the third-place match gave them a season record of 20-1 as a team.

Other Sherwood players found success at the state tournament. The doubles team of juniors Kelsey Niebergall and Carley Mills opened the tourney with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Summit's Kelsey Collis and Kacie Evans, who they lost to earlier in the season.

'That might have been the greatest win in my coaching career,' Krauel said.

'Oh my gosh, it was great,' Niebergall said.

Niebergall and Mills fell 6-4, 6-1 to Hawman and Stocker in the quarterfinals.

The Sherwood doubles team of junior Amy Otis and Sydney Blomquist also played at the state tournament, as did senior Jessica Creger in singles play.

The Sherwood boys were also represented at the Class 5A state tournament. Senior Alec Blomquist and junior Daniel McCleskey both played in singles competition at state and the team of juniors Alec Wistoff and Grant McLaughlin competed in doubles play.