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Young LO tennis team nearly tops WL

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Singles player Paul Beard hits a forehand in his match at No. 2 singles.

The Lake Oswego boys tennis team really didn't know what to expect this year after it graduated virtually its entire squad in 2007.

But the Lakers have proven that, even with a ton of new faces, they are still one of the best teams in the league.

Lake Oswego has come close to toppling Clackamas this season and lost a match 10-8 in sets to West Linn on Monday, a team that is now primed to win the league title.

The Lakers got a handful of standout performances on Monday, winning two singles and two doubles matches.

At third singles, Craig Denninger won in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 while Austin Winters won a dramatic three-set battle at fourth singles. He dropped the first set 6-2 but rallied to win the second and then captured the third in a tiebreaker.

Lake Oswego also picked up victories at first and second doubles. The No. 1 doubles team of Bobby Thurston and Trevor Chase also dropped its first set 2-6, but regrouped to play some solid tennis, winning the next two 6-2, 6-3.

'The team feeds off of Bobby and Trevor and their energy,' Laker coach Denise Alexander said.

At second doubles, the team of Evan Nyland and Charles Goldner continued its strong season winning 6-1, 6-1. The pair is currently undefeated in league and Alexander is looking to set them up nicely in the district tournament in order to give them as much of a chance as possible to advance to state.

'That team has been so solid for us this year. They're really making things work for the team,' Alexander said.

While the Lakers won four matches, the sets they lost proved to be the difference. West Linn's top two singles players were solid, each winning in straight sets as did its third and fourth doubles teams.

Still, with the close loss, Lake Oswego has proven that its young team can still compete with the elite programs in the league and it is also set up very well for next spring.

'It's very exciting that we're doing this well. It's a young team and it's very close-knit,' Alexander said.

This weekend the Lakers will compete in an invitational at the Portland Tennis Center.

The Lakeridge boys lost a 6-2 decision to West Linn last week but were without the services of Ben Shipley. The Pacers received wins from Ben Silbert at No. 3 singles and the No. 1 doubles team of Brian Hughes and Felix Poch.

Lakeridge is still very much in the running for a league title, however as it is still the only team to have knocked off West Linn so far.

Meanwhile the girls teams have been plagued with bad weather as Lake Oswego still needs to play a pair of matches against Clackamas and West Linn, two of the best teams in the league. The Lakers are scheduled to play back-to- back matches against the Lions next week on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Last week the Lakers knocked off Lakeridge 8-0, winning each match in straight sets. Markie and Bailey Westwood won at first and second singles and Leslie Levine and Lindsay Cowan finished the singles sweep at third and fourth respectively. Alex Loren played the closest match for Lakeridge at fourth singles, falling 6-4, 6-2.