Things are looking up for Southridge, which now has won three times
by: MILES VANCE, READY TO GO — Westview junior Minje Shin prepares for a forehand during his 6-3, 6-1 victory over Southridge junior Kyahn Daraee during the Skyhawks’ 5-3 Metro League win at Westview High School last Thursday afternoon.

ROCK CREEK - Southridge was ready. Westview was shorthanded. The sun was shining.

And when the dust had settled at the end of the Skyhawks' and Wildcats' boys tennis match last Thursday, Southridge walked away with its first Metro League win over Westview and continued its strong early-season play.

The Skyhawks, who suffered through a winless 2007 Metro season - the first at the Class 6A level - built their victory over Westview with a sweep of the day's four doubles matches at Westview High School and a victory at fourth singles that pushed them over the top.

The win, along with a 6-2 victory over Aloha on Tuesday, lifted Southridge's Metro League record to 3-2 and third place. Westview - which had several regulars out of its lineup while attending the Model United Nations conference on Thursday - also lost to Jesuit 8-0 Tuesday and fell to 1-3 and a tie for fourth place.

In the day's top singles match, it was Westview junior Minje Shin who recovered from a shaky first-set start to race past Southridge junior Kyahn Daraee 6-3, 6-1. In that match, Daraee and Shin traded two service breaks each in the opening set before Shin got his footing and closed the opening set at 6-3.

'I just had to feel him out the first few games, then I tried to keep him on the baseline and hit it deep,' Shin said. 'That's what you've got to do no matter who you're playing.'

Then, in the second set, Shin and Daraee both held serve to start at 1-1, but Shin held again to push ahead 2-1 in the third game and never looked back - he won the final five games of the set to seal the match at 6-3, 6-1.

After the match, Daraee said that he started badly against Shin and never really recovered.

'I got some bad advice. The guys in my team told me (Shin) was really inconsistent so I was just trying to patty-cake my way through it, but it didn't work out very well.'

And once Shin got things rolling, there wasn't much Daraee could do to stop it.

'My serves were OK, but once the point got started, it was like I was just feeding balls to him,' Daree said. 'He was playing the points, dictating the match.'

For Shin, who played first doubles a year ago, his first season in the top singles spot has been a continual learning experience.

'You're not going to meet a bad player in the Metro League,' he said. 'You've got to play smart tennis no matter who they are or they'll put it away.'

While the top three singles matches didn't go Southridge's way - Westview senior Sean Crawford beat senior James Kim 6-2, 6-1 at second singles and Wildcat sophomore Marcin Kowalski took out junior Dennis Cordova at No. 3 6-4, 6-2 - everything else did.

Skyhawk freshman Nathan Chong broke up the singles shutout by beating senior Albert Lee 7-5, 6-2 at fourth singles, and Southridge rolled through doubles play without a loss.

Sophomores Braden Adcock and Kevin Funkhouser got things started by beating Westview junior Nick Staford and sophomore Alex Quiner 6-1, 6-1 at first doubles. Next up, Skyhawk junior Steven Chun and sophomore Sunanth Sakthievel outlasted Wildcat sophomore Matt Amayao and junior John Lee 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 at second doubles.

At third doubles, senior Paul Lim and junior Jack Chou knocked off Westview sophomre Bradley Sumoge and freshman Ray Nagappan 6-3, 6-2. And at fourth doubles, Southridge sophomores Kite Birzer and Matt Lee took care of Wildcat freshmen Timothy Lee and Kyungmin Park 6-2, 6-2.

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

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