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Tennis teams gear up for tough stretches with easy victories

The West Linn girls' tennis team is still unbeaten but one of its toughest stretches of the year looms ahead. The Lions picked up dominating victories over Oregon City and Putnam to move to 4-0 in league but showdowns with the team's three top competitors in the conference are slated next along with a tournament in Bend, featuring three very competitive squads.

Against the Pioneers, West Linn tallied an 8-0 victory and none of the matches were ever in jeopardy. In fact, no Lions player or doubles team lost more than three games in their respective matches.

Danika Tonning swept her opponent 6-0, 6-0 at first singles as did the first doubles team of Kaitlan Locke and Christiana Cha.

'Kaitlan and Christiana are two of our senior leaders. They're playing very well right now,' coach Aaron Downs said.

Last Thursday, West Linn took on Putnam and, once again, failed to drop a set, let alone an entire match. Tonning easily dispatched her opponent 6-0, 6-0, as did third singles player Courtney Moore.

The only match that was close occurred at second singles but West Linn's Susan Zack played consistently and held of Putanm's Ashley Reynolds for a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Zack started the season playing doubles but Downs switched her to singles and moved Kellie Kawasaki to second doubles and the move has paid off.

'That's been our biggest shift and it's working out so far,' Downs said.

Kawasaki and her partner Alex Smith beat their Kingsmen opponents 6-1, 6-0 as did the fourth doubles team of Danielle Meyer and Torie Bechtold and fourth singles player Lisa Kirkemo.

'We're playing pretty well right now. They're playing with a lot of confidence and they're very competitive,' Downs said.

West Linn's scheduled match against Lake Oswego earlier this week was rained out and is scheduled to be made up next Tuesday. The Lions will take on Lakeridge again today (Thursday) after narrowly defeating the Pacers earlier in the season.

Then, over the weekend, West Linn will travel to Bend in a tournament which features North Medford, Tualatin and Summit.

'Those are all very good teams. I was looking for a good tournament for us and I was pretty excited to get into this one,' Downs said.

The boys team also racked up a pair of easy victories heading into its crucial stretch of the season.

Against Oregon City, the Lions won 8-0 and didn't drop a set. First singles player Chris Erbin won his match 6-0, 6-0 along with the Lions' top two doubles teams.

The fourth singles match was the only one of the day that was marginally competitive as Danny Walinski cruised 6-0 in the first set and then clinched the victory in a second-set tiebreaker.

Last Tuesday, West Linn topped Putnam 7-1 with the team's only loss coming at second singles. All of the Lions' victories came in straight sets, including a dominating 6-0, 6-1 victory by Sam Tingey and Kyle Wickert at fourth doubles.

The team is scheduled to take on Lake Oswego next Tuesday and its rematch with Lakeridge is slated for this Friday.