Showdown between showers

Jesuit's boys muscle up for an 8-0 Metro win over Beaverton
by: MILES VANCE, BACK AT YOU — Beaverton senior Reed Nibley hits a forehand return during his match at No. 1 singles against Jesuit junior Spencer Moore at Beaverton High School last Thursday. Nibley and Moore completed their match Friday after rain suspended play, with Moore winning in straight sets.

BEAVERTON - It wasn't easy and it wasn't quick, but Jesuit's 8-0 win over Beaverton in boys tennis was absolutely impressive.

The Crusaders needed two days - thanks to a rain delay that suspended play midway through play on Thursday and necessitated a Friday finish - to knock off the Beavers in Metro League play, and in doing so, ran their league-leading record to 4-0 (8-0 overall) while Beaverton fell to 1-3 (4-5 overall).

'I thought we played fine; they are just a good team,' said Beaverton coach Matt Hottman. 'We had chances at two and three doubles, but against a good team, you just can't give away free points and expect to close out sets.'

Jesuit got singles wins from Spencer Moore, Mike Freeman, Roshen Warrier and Brendon Gibbons, then added doubles victories from the teams of Mike McCoy and Thomas Dols, Vineet Mehndiratta and Connor Cunningham, John Ware and Charlie Neville, and Jeremy McCarroll and Edwin Janes.

At No. 1 singles, Moore - a junior and the defending Metro champion and a state semifinalist in 2006 - used his powerful serve and accurate groundstrokes to take out Beaverton senior Nibley - a state doubles quarterfinalist in '06 - by a 6-1, 6-2 score.

'I thought I played really well,' Moore said. 'I was making a high percentage of my first serves (and) ... I was hitting my groundstrokes consistently and deep.'

'That was a nice win for Spencer,' said Jesuit coach Jeff Wood. Nibley 'likes to put a lot of pace on the ball and that's a style Spencer likes to play.'

For his part, Nibley - who took Moore to three sets in league last year - thought he'd played OK, but that Moore was just simply better that day.

'Normally, he's a pretty tall guy so you can try to play the ball low at his feet,' Nibley said. 'But he was really 'on' that day. There was nothing I could do.'

'Spencer is a great player,' Hottman said. 'It was the second year in a row that their match was postponed due to weather and both times he came out firing the next day. His serve was on and when Spencer is painting lines like that and starting points well inside the baseline, he's going to be awfully tough to beat.'

Second singles provided another exciting battleground - and another Jesuit win - with Crusader junior Mike Freeman fighting his way past Beaverton freshman Alen Suklje 6-3, 7-5.

Suklje 'is going to be a good player. He played Freeman pretty close,' Wood said.

In the remaining two singles matches, Jesuit sophomore Roshen Warrier beat Beaverton senior Kevin Foley 6-0, 4-6, 6-4 at No. 3, and Jesuit junior Brendon Gibbons took out Beaverton junior Thomas Overlund 6-0, 6-1.

Jesuit also knew it was in for challenges at first and second doubles, but again, the Crusaders came away with victories. At No. 1, it was Mike McCoy and Thomas Dols who handled Beaverton's Nathan Ramos (who reached the state doubles quarters with Nibley last year) and Cole Fitzpatrick 6-0, 6-2. At second doubles, Jesuit's Vineet Mehnidratta and Connor Cunningham won a tough 7-6 first set over Nitin Agrawal and Brad Phillips, then turned their advantage to a sweep with a 6-1 second-set win.

'We expected a tough match at No. 1 doubles because of Ramos,' Wood said. 'But that was one of the best matches our guys have played.'

The Crusaders had to earn their money at third and fourth doubles as well, with John Ware and Charlie Neville knocking off Tatsunori Nakashima and Dan Nguyen 7-5, 6-3 at No. 3, and Jeremy McCarroll and Edwin Janes defeating Aidan Beers and Joe Springhetti 6-3, 7-5 at No. 4.

In upcoming matches, Jesuit will host Southridge at 4:30 p.m. today (Thursday), host its annual Jesuit-Metro-State tournament at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and play at Sunset at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Beaverton, meanwhile, hosts Aloha at 4:30 p.m. today and plays Southridge at Highland Park Middle School at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.