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Laker boys and girls are league champs

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Lakeridge’s Olivia Stark returns a shot during last week’s match against West Linn. Stark has been one of the Pacers’ most improved players throughout the season and is currently playing at first singles.

In a rare occurrence, Lake Oswego has swept the Three Rivers League in tennis. Although the girls team still needs to top West Linn once more to clinch the title outright, they can finish no worse than in a tie for the championship while the Laker boys clinched with a victory over West Linn and a sweep of Lakeridge.

The Laker girls were given their toughest league match of the season last week when they hosted previously unbeaten West Linn.

The Lions gave Lake Oswego a number of tough matches but, in the end, the Lakers' depth proved to be too much and the team won handily 7-1.

One of the stranger matches of the afternoon took place at first singles. Madeline Parker was having little trouble with West Linn's Danika Tonning, taking the first set 6-2.

However, Tonning rallied impressively and put Parker back on her heels, taking the second set 6-1. It marked the first set that Parker has dropped in league this year.

Parker quickly regained control of the match, however, winning the third set 6-2. Lake Oswego swept the Lions in singles as Bailey Westwood, Hayley Standage and Emily Murphy all won in straight sets.

'There were some really good matches. It's always fun to play some of your best competition later in the season,' coach Debbie Ford said.

The Lakers' only loss came at second doubles where Dayna Remmers and Megan Cougill lost after forcing a second set tiebreaker.

The two teams were slated to play once more on Wednesday but results were not available at press time.

Districts will be held next Thursday and Friday at the Portland Tennis Center and, although the team isn't talking much about it, Ford knows that, with a strong showing, a large contingent at state is a distinct possibility.

'We talked a little bit about it at the start of the year but haven't said a word since. So much depends on the draw,' Ford said.

The Lakeridge girls will also try to sneak a few players into state but will need to go through West Linn and Lake Oswego to do so. The Pacers will finish third in the league this year after dropping a 6-2 decision to West Linn last week.

'It's a night and day difference between now and where we were at the beginning of the season. We're improving each day and it's great to see,' Lakeridge coach Tim Carmichael said.

Both teams played with modified line-ups as the teams' previous meeting ended tied at 4-4 with West Linn winning in sets.

Kate Gosewehr moved from singles to doubles and paired with Jillian Kay. The second doubles team earned a 6-3, 6-4 victory, Lakeridge's first of the afternoon.

At third doubles, the team of Morgan Prince and Katie Pearson also earned a victory in straight sets, winning the second in a tiebreaker.

However, West Linn split up its top doubles team and played the pair at second and third singles and that adjustment gave the Lions some much-needed depth. West Linn swept the singles bracket without losing a set.

'I'm confident that we can get some players on to state and the girls are excited about it,' Carmichael said.

The Lake Oswego boys continued their dominance in the Three Rivers League, topping West Linn in the team's first meeting 7-1. For a while, it appeared that the Lions would make the match a close one but the Lakers were victorious in a number of close contests, only losing at second singles.

Keith Meagher dispatched Chris Erbin after being tested in the second set while the No. 1 doubles team of David Mai and David Sklenar were given everything they could handle by West Linn's Kevin Kirkemo and Brett Wright before ousting them in straight sets.

Lake Oswego's depth was key as third singles player Alex Rossman and fourth singles player Taylor Atchison easily won their matches to help clinch the victory.

The Lakers will likely account for the majority of seeds at next week's district tournament, which will be held at the Portland Tennis Center on Tuesday and Wednesday, and could make a splash at state as well.

Meanwhile, the Lakeridge boys clinched third place in the Three Rivers League but dropped a pair of matches to West Linn and Clackamas. The Lions made up for an earlier loss to the Pacers with a 5-3 victory last week.

Lakeridge was missing its top player, Sean Eberle and lost three of four singles matches but its top two doubles teams won on the afternoon.