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Crusaders win round one vs. Apollos by 6-2

Jesuit impresses Sunset, but the Apollos know that they can still play better
by: MILES VANCE, BACK(HAND) ATTACK — Jesuit senior Michael Freeman battles Sunset sophomore Jeff Yeom in their second singles match last Thursday at Sunset High School. Freeman came back from a 2-0 first-set deficit to win 6-2, 6-0 and the Crusaders won with an overall score of 6-2.

CEDAR MILL - It's just one test in a season that will include many more, but Jesuit's boys tennis team passed its first big test of 2008 with flying colors.

The Crusaders, the defending Metro League champions, upped their early-season Metro record to 2-0 last Thursday when they knocked off their most likely challengers - the Sunset Apollos - 6-2 at Sunset High School.

'We expected it to be tough at their place and it was,' said Jesuit coach Jeff Wood, whose team saw its Tuesday match against Aloha rained out with completion due for yesterday (Wednesday) after the Valley Times' press deadline.

Sunset's boys, meanwhile, came back to beat Southridge 6-0 in a rain-shortened Tuesday match and moved to 2-1 in Metro play. And while the Apollos weren't exactly thrilled with their play against the Crusaders, they were realistic about their results too.

It was 'not the best they have played this year, but you have to remember that Jesuit may be the best team in the state,' said Sunset coach Lad Salness.

Jesuit swept to four victories in the day's four singles matches, with senior Spencer Moore, the defending Metro League champion, racing past Sunset's much-improved senior No. 1 Chris Seibel 6-0, 6-3 in the day's top match.

'Spencer is one of our team captains and he came out with some really choice words before the match,' Wood said.

And when it came time to play, Moore was ready.

'Seibel is vastly improved, but Spencer took care of him,' Wood said.

Likewise, Jesuit senior Michael Freeman bounced back from an 0-2 deficit in his second singles match against Sunset sophomore Jeff Yeom to win impressively at 6-2, 6-0.

'Freeman didn't panic. He just adjusted and came back like he had to,' Wood said.

'Spencer and Michael showed that they are veterans of 1 and 2 singles matches,' Salness said. But 'Chris Siebel came on in the second set … so it will be fun to watch them in the next match.'

At third singles, it was Jesuit's Roshan Warrier over Sunset senior Alex Belmonte 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, while at fourth singles, Jesuit freshman Peder Gram knocked off Apollo senior Naveen Nanja 6-2, 6-0.

The Apollos held their own in doubles, however, getting a 5-7, 6-0, 7-6 (6) victory from seniors Eric Furuya and Tim Neal over Jesuit's Thomas Dols and Gram Leahy at No. 1, and a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 victory from juniors William Wang and Ashish Petra over Crusaders Edwin Janes and Jeremy McCarroll at No. 4.

That was a 'great match,' Salness said of the No. 1 doubles contest. 'Both teams played hard and it came down to a tiebreaker in the third set. Sunset's experience against the youth of Jesuit.'

'Eric Furuya is always tough and Tim Neal didn't falter,' Wood said of the top doubles contest. 'He made some strong serves and Sunset won it.'

But Jesuit kept the slate even in doubles, getting a 6-1 6-1 win by Brendan Gibbons and Vineet Mehndiratta over Elliot Neal and Mike Furuya at second doubles, and a 7-6, 6-1 win by Winston Neville and freshman Sam Stephenson over Caleb Lu and Evan Liu at third doubles.

'The freshman, Sam Stephenson, made some adjustments and finished real strong,' Wood said.

In upcoming matches, Sunset hosts Aloha at 4:30 p.m. today (Thursday) and plays at Beaverton at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, while Jesuit hosts Beaverton at 4:30 p.m. today and plays at Westview at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.