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Lakers tie for TRL title, teams eye districts

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Bailey Westwood hits a return during her second singles match last week against West Linn. She won that match and then moved up to first singles on Monday. The Lakers and Lions split the two matches.

With weather wreaking havoc on much of the tennis season so far this spring, the Lake Oswego girls found themselves having to take on their strongest league competitors in quick succession.

With a full line-up the Lakers handled West Linn 6-2 last week but some injuries and absences led to a different line-up for Monday's second match and an inspired Lions team came away with a 5-3 win.

As a result the teams are co-champions of the Three Rivers League this year.

In the first match between the teams last week, Lake Oswego was impressive. One of the team's two losses came at first singles where the Lakers' Markie Westwood was forced to retire early in the first set because of a minor leg injury.

Lake Oswego swept the next three singles matches. Bailey Westwood won easily at second singles as did Lindsay Cowan at fourth singles.

At No. 3 singles, Leslie Levine found herself locked in a battle with West Linn's Courtney Moore. Levine lost the opening set but rallied quickly for a 6-2 victory in the second set. Then, in what was the longest match of the day, Levine won the third set 6-4.

Meanwhile, Lake Oswego's top three doubles teams of Madeline Parker and Molly Maguire, Hayley Standage and Stephanie Wolfram and Katie Faunce and Kelsey Edmondson all won in straight sets.

In Monday's match, Markie Westwood was out which moved all of the team's singles players up. Wolfram was also gone at a tournament and Ford opted not to mess with the chemistry of her other doubles teams.

West Linn put together its best match of the year and swept the singles bracket.

Lake Oswego won three doubles matches, including a pair of easy victories from Parker and Maguire at No. 1 doubles and Megan MacKenzie and Lindsey Rossman at No. 2 doubles.

West Linn won a closely contested battle at third doubles and that was all it took to clinch the match.

The team will now gear up for the district tournament which, as of press time, was slated to being on Monday at Lake Oswego High School. The Lakers will hope to advance a majority of its team through to state to set itself up for a run at a state title.

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The Lake Oswego boys suffered another razor-thin loss to West Linn last week but, in the victory, West Linn coach Ward Lewis was impressed with how well the young Laker team played.

'L.O. played great. Every match was competitive. They're really a team to watch,' Lewis said.

For the second time this year Lake Oswego tied West Linn at four matches each but lost 10-8 on sets.

The Lakers threw a different line-up at the Lions, breaking up their No. 1 doubles team of Trevor Chase and Bobby Thurston and playing them at first and second singles.

That put pressure on the doubles bracket and the Lakers responded, winning three of those four matches.

Alex Dorman and Danny Mitchell won a tough three-set battle at No. 2 doubles while Craig Denninger and Austin Winters won handily at third doubles.

Lake Oswego also picked up a crucial victory at No. 3 singles when Paul Beard knocked off Sam Tingey in three sets.

But West Linn's depth and singles and its pair of three-set losses was enough to win the match.

Lake Oswego will now look to send players through to state along with the Lakeridge boys, who bested Clackamas and Putnam in a double-header on Monday.

The Lakers beat the talented Cavaliers 6-2 despite missing No. 1 singles player Don Bagwell. Bagwell will be the No. 2 seed at districts and will eye a return to the state tournament.

But Lakeridge's Brian Hughes stepped in at No. 1 singles and won in straight sets. The Pacers swept the singles bracket with Ben Shipley winning at No. 2 and Brett Northfield and Ben Brewer winning at Nos. 3 and 4.

'Ben Brewer, our freshman, has been getting stronger and more confident. He's really come a long way,' Pacer coach Rick Prince said.

Lakeridge earned three seeds at the district tournament. Hughes is seeded third in singles and the doubles team of Shipley and Felix Poch also received a No. 3 seed.

'The goal is to get those guys through. If they just play good tennis and have fun they should be fine. Then maybe we can slip some other kids through,' Prince said.

The district tournament begins today (Thursday) at Portland Tennis Center.