Laker girls tennis team takes 2nd in Medford
The Lake Oswego girls tennis team got to see exactly where it stacks up with the state's best last weekend when it traveled to Medford in an 11-team tournament that featured virtually every state title contender.
And where do the Lakers stack up? Second. Just a hair behind Jesuit, which defeated Lake Oswego in the championship match 5-3.
The tournament was set up with each team competing head-to-head in one of four pools. The winners out of the pools would then square off in the semifinals. The format rewards team depth and is a more accurate measuring stick of how strong a team is from top to bottom than the state tournament usually is.
'They wanted to put together a true team tournament and it was a pretty good representation of what we'll see at state,' Laker coach Debbie Ford said.
To get to the title match against the defending state champion Crusaders, Lake Oswego bested three very talented squads in Beaverton, South Medford and Lincoln.
The Lakers drew Beaverton and South Medford in their pool and the upstart Beavers gave Lake Oswego a strong match.
Beaverton was stronger in the singles bracket winning three of those four matches in straight sets. But, at second singles, Bailey Westwood had an easy time with her opponent, winning 6-1, 6-1.
And the Lakers won the match with a dominating sweep in doubles, not dropping a set in any of the four matches.
Madeline Parker and Molly Maguire were terrific all tournament long and beat their Beaverton opponents 6-1, 6-1 at first doubles.
'That team was very strong. They had some very clean wins,' Ford said.
At second doubles, Hayley Standage and Stephanie Wolfram won 6-4, 6-0. Megan MacKenzie and Lindsey Rossman won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 doubles and Kelsey Edmondson and Katie Faunce completed the sweep with a 7-6, 6-1 win.
Then, against South Medford, Lake Oswego was solid again, winning 6-2. Three of those matches were decided by a third-set super tiebreaker and the Lakers won two of those.
At No. 1 singles, Markie Westwood won a hard-fought match. After dropping the first set she rallied for a 6-1 win in the second and then captured the super tiebreaker 10-8. Bailey Westwood picked up another easy victory 6-0, 6-0 .
Leslie Levine lost a close match at third singles and Lindsay Cowan played one of the best matches of the day at fourth singles. She lost the first set 5-7 but won the second 7-6 before losing 10-8 in the tiebreaker.
Once again Lake Oswego swept doubles. The only tough match came at the No. 4 spot where Faunce and Heather Aholt split the first two sets before winning the tiebreaker 10-4.
Those wins propelled the Lakers into the semifinals against Lincoln, a team expected to compete for a state title this year.
Lake Oswego played some of its best tennis of the tournament against the Cardinals, winning 7-1 with all but one victory coming in straight sets.
The only loss came at first singles as Markie Westwood lost to Belinda Niu who is perhaps the state's top player this year.
Bailey Westwood, Levine and Cowan all won their singles matches and the four Laker doubles teams stayed perfect for the tournament. MacKenzie and Rossman lost their first set but won the second 6-1 and won the ensuing tiebreaker 10-5.
That set up a showdown in the title match between the Crusaders and the Lakers. Those teams finished first and second at state last year.
Lake Oswego played without Markie Westwood who was nursing a sore wrist while Jesuit was also without one of its best singles players in Megan Moore.
Playing at No. 1 singles, Bailey Westwood gave Steffanie Mortera a good match but lost 6-4, 6-1.
Cowan earned Lake Oswego's lone victory in singles 6-3, 7-5.
Doubles was highlighted by another extremely impressive performance from Parker and Maguire as they bested one of the better teams in the state 6-1, 6-1.
Wolfram and Standage lost a heartbreaker at second doubles, winning the second set before falling in a tiebreaker.
'There were a couple matches that could have gone either way,' Ford said.
Edmondson and Faunce also pulled out a victory for the Lakers at fourth doubles 6-2, 7-6.
'We got some tough matches in and it was good for the girls to get that experience. We feel pretty good about where we fall and how we're playing right now,' Ford said.
It was an impressive showing for Lake Oswego and, quite frankly, it was just nice to actually be playing some tennis with the way the weather has been recently.
The Lakers still have four league matches to get in before the district tournament.