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Wolves, Tigers turn up the intensity in back-and-forth battle

Boys tennis: Tualatin comes away with a 7-2 win in the match between rivals
by: DAN BROOD, YEAH — Tualatin’s Andrew Larson (left) and Jacob Nokes celebrate a third-set point.

TUALATIN - It was intense.

The action went back and forth - as did momentum.

And it all came down to the wire. In other words, it was one heck of a tennis doubles match.

And Tualatin's Andrew Larson, a senior, and Jacob Nokes, a junior, emerged victorious from that intense contest as they scored a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win over Tigard juniors Andrew deBlanc and Jeff Rogers in an entertaining No. 1 doubles match.

'Except for the first set, we played pretty well,' Larson said after the match. 'We had to battle back.'

With their win at No. 1 doubles, Larson and Nokes helped the Timberwolves score a 7-2 win over the Tigers in a Pacific Conference match held last Thursday at Tualatin High School.

With the victory, Tualatin improved to 5-1 in league matches, putting the Timberwolves alone atop the Pacific Conference standings. Tigard dropped to 4-2 in league play with the loss, putting the Tigers in a tie with Forest Grove for second place in the standings.

Last Thursday's No. 1 doubles match marked the second time Larson and Nokes had faced off against deBlanc and Rogers this season. The first time the duos met, back on April 1, deBlanc and Rogers came out on top by a 7-6, 6-4 margin.

'We had a lot of motivation,' Nokes said of the rematch. 'I don't think they've dropped a league match.'

In last Thursday's No. 1 doubles match, deBlanc and Rogers sprinted to a 6-3 first set victory.

The second set went to a tiebreaker after the teams battled to a 6-6 tie. The Tigers grabbed a 3-1 lead in the tiebreaker on a smash by deBlanc.

The Tiger duo was up 4-2 in the tiebreaker before Larson and Nokes stormed back in a big way, winning five straight points to claim a 7-4 victory in the tiebreaker, sending the match to a deciding third set.

Rogers and deBlanc broke serve to win the first game of the third set. But the Timberwolf duo, again, came back strong. Larson and Nokes won five of the next six games to claim a 5-2 third-set lead.

But the Tiger team wouldn't go down without a fight. Facing match point in the eighth game of the set, deBlanc and Rogers rallied to win in deuce, cutting the Tualatin lead to 5-3.

The next game also went to deuce, but this time the Timberwolves got the win, wrapping up the three-set victory, on a match-winning smash by Larson.

'I always wanted to end a match like that,' Larson said. 'The third set was all motivation and momentum. It's always fun to play in a match like that, especially when you win.'

The two teams could end up facing off again at the Pacific Conference district tournament.

'I have no doubt we'll see them at district. They're a very good team,' Larson said. 'We want to win district and go to state.'

Tualatin also won the other three doubles contests of the match. At No. 2 doubles, the Timberwolf team of Brock Tillotson and Derek Yagi scored a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) victory over Jason Hortsch and David Mackay.

The No. 3 doubles match saw Michael Nicholson and Eric Romrell score a 6-3, 6-4 win over Andrew Dixon and Daniel Werner. At No. 4 doubles, Tualatin's David Kerlin and Jered Yagi bested Amalon Sunder and Travis Spanu 6-1, 6-4.

Tigard claimed victory in each of the top two singles matches. At No. 1 singles, Tiger senior Anthony Breitenbach, the defending Pacific Conference district singles champion, scored a 6-1, 6-0 victory over John Stromberg. At No. 2 singles, Tigard junior Kevin Xiong notched a 6-2, 6-1 win over Leo Edmundson.

At No. 3 singles, Tualatin's Jacob Potter bested Brandon Sandefor 6-3, 6-1. Tualatin's Zach Munger scored a 7-5, 6-1 win over Mincin Yang at No. 4 singles. Tualatin's Jason Nguyen scored a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Pasha Golestanch at No. 5 singles.

Tigard and Tualatin were both rained out of their scheduled matches on Tuesday.

Both teams are slated to be back in action today (Thursday). Tigard will host Canby and Tualatin travels to Forest Grove.