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Tualatin doubles duo shines at state tennis tourney

Nicole Janes and Bella Koessler reach the quarterfinal round
by: DAN BROOD, WORKING TOGETHER – Tualatin’s Bella Koessler (left) and Nicole Janes celebrate a point during Friday’s quarterfinal match at the state tourney.

PORTLAND - Nicole Janes and Bella Koessler say they were happy just to get to the Class 6A state tennis tournament.

Well, the Tualatin High School juniors were then ecstatic to reach the quarterfinal round in girls doubles play at state tournament.

And they seemingly did it while smiling almost the entire time.

'That was our goal, to have fun,' Janes said after the Tualatin duo fell to the No. 2-seeded team of Anna Martel and Meghana Rao of Jesuit in a quarterfinal match played Friday at the Portland Tennis Center. 'It was great.'

'It was exciting,' Koessler said of getting to the quarterfinals. 'It was sort of weird how we got here, but we're glad it happened.'

Janes and Koessler, who finished third in doubles competition at the Pacific Conference district tournament a week before the state event, opened the Class 6A state tournament by scoring a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win over Torrie Moore and Leanne Moore of West Salem in a first-round match played last Thursday at the Portland Tennis Center.

'That was fun,' Janes said. 'We did good in the beginning and then we struggled in the second set. We had to get our heads back in it.'

'I thought we did well,' Koessler said. 'We just needed to stay focused.'

In the second round, the Tualatin duo was set to play the fifth-seeded team of Faye Chaiyabutr and Anna Lee of Southridge, but the match didn't happen as Janes and Koessler received a victory by default.

That put Janes and Koessler in the quarterfinals, where they fell 6-1, 6-0 to Martel and Rao.

'It was a great experience,' Janes said.

'We got to play against some really good players,' Koessler added.

And, as juniors, there's also next year.

'We want to come back to state,' Janes said.

Tualatin junior Eloise Loen also made her state tournament debut in singles competition.

Loen opened the state tourney with a 6-4, 6-0 loss to Bailey Brooks of Sprague. Loen then fell 8-4 to Olivia Dozois of Lake Oswego in a pro set consolation quarterfinal match.

The Tualatin doubles team of senior Megan Freel and junior Mollie Freel received a first-round bye at the state tournament. The Timberwolf sister duo was then edged 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 by Nicole Nagel and Olivia Hay of Sunset in a second-round match.

In boys competition, Tualatin senior Jason Lemieux won his first-round singles match at state, getting a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Fig Makornkewkeyoon of David Douglas.

In the second round, Lemieux fell 6-0, 6-0 to the No. 2 seed, Brent Chin of Grant.