by: Miles Vance, 
Miles Rifkin fires a shot during last weekend’s Jesuit Tournament. Playing at second singles, Rifkin took third place in the event. As a team, the West Linn boys took fifth place, just one point behind Lincoln.

The West Linn boys tennis team took fifth place at the prestigious Jesuit Tournament last weekend and saw its best competition of the year in the process.

'The tournament is a great place to learn to play versus the game of tennis. When you make bad decisions, punishment is swift,' coach Ward Lewis said.

The top finisher for the Lions was Miles Rifkin at second singles. Rifkin won his first match in three sets over an opponent from Grant. Rifkin lost the first set 2-6 but rallied back to win the second in a tiebreaker. He then won the final set 6-2 to advance to the semifinals.

Rifkin kept his momentum going against Jesuit's Michael Freeman, winning the first set 6-3. But Freeman bounced back to win the next two.

Then, in the third place match, Rifkin beat Mark Kincaid from Lincoln 6-4, 6-4.

Also coming in with a third-place finish was the fourth doubles team of Blake Beehler and Andrew Brown.

That team won a tough three-set battle 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in its opening match against Grant and then fell to the eventual champions of that bracket from Jesuit. In the third-place match, Beehler and Brown topped a Lincoln duo 6-2, 6-3.

West Linn also picked up a pair of consolation victories. At first singles, the Lions' Chris Erbin drew Jesuit's Spencer Moore, one of the state's top players, in the first round. Erbin gave him a battle but fell 6-1, 6-4.

Erbin had little trouble in his next matching, winning the pro-set 8-1. Then, in the consolation finals, Erbin bested Sunset's Chris Seibel in straight sets 7-6, 6-1.

Also winning its consolation bracket was the No. 3 doubles team of Mark Chipperfield and Grant Beehler.

The team lost its opening round match to Sunset but then buried its next two opponents. Chipperfield and Beehler won their first consolation match 8-0 and then won the consolation final 6-1, 6-2.

Also earning a victory over the weekend was No. 3 singles player Sam Tingey, who topped Mark Reimers from Glencoe 6-0, 6-1. Tingey then played a tough three-set match against Jesuit's Roshen Warrier, losing 0-6, 6-4, 1-6.

'The team played well against some of the best competition in the state. We're making great progress,' Lewis said.

Meanwhile the girls team had to endure another rain-out against Lake Oswego. With only two weeks before the district tournament, the Lions need to get in two matches with the Lakers.

Last week, the Lions picked up three more dominating victories winning 8-0 in matches against Milwaukie, Clackamas and Oregon City.

Against the Pioneers, West Linn dropped a total of 13 games in eight matches.

Clackamas, a team that normally holds its own against the Lions, was defeated soundly as West Linn didn't lose a set. No one dropped more than three games in a single set during that match.

The Lions have only dropped two individual matches all season and figure to have a lock on second place in the league.

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