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Doubles tandem takes down gauntlet of fellow Crusader squads for Metro title

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - The Jesuit boys tennis team won the Metro League district tournament.

High school tennis doubles teams often are late-season hodgepodges, talented singles' players thrown together in the last week or so of the season in the name of maximizing team points.

The results can be a mixed bag. Some mesh their abilities and blossom. Others can't find the necessary cohesion and flame out.

But in the case of Jesuit junior Tommy Kallgren and sophomore Jaden D'Abreo, the Crusaders' doubles tandem's tenure dates back to their days as young middle schoolers playing on the USTA circuit. They've played together longer than essentially any team they go up against.

Their cited past and current chemistry were the foundation of the duo's Metro title on Saturday when Kallgren and D'Abreo beat teammates Charlie Law and Sayantan Ganguly 6-2, 6-0 at Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation Center.

"We treated it like any other match, just trying our hardest and didn't think about who was on the other side," Kallgren said. "We tried to play our own game and play our hearts out. This was awesome getting to play with my partner in high school tournaments."

For the first time in more than two decades, all four of Jesuit's doubles team reached the semifinals and punched tickets to the Class 6A state championship. Sophomores Spencer and Connor Barnett placed third and Wyatt Warrington and Ariel Gomez took fourth for the Crusaders, who won Metro as a team. Most of Jesuit's current program and a few select past stars were in attendance on Saturday, sitting on the grassy knoll just behind the chain link fence, creating positive clatter and a fun atmosphere.

"It's a family," Kallgren said. "We've had people who have played here the past couple of years come watch our matches and know each other. It's cool carrying on the tradition and wearing the Jesuit logo."

Kallgren and D'Abreo endured a three-set seminal war with the Barnetts, winning the match 2-6, 6-0 and 7-5. The eventual champs were down 5-4 in the third set, but relied on their background as a tag team to overcome the break and rally with a flurry of wins.

"I told Tommy we'd been in this situation before, we know what to do," D'Abreo said. "It helped us win the next three games pretty easily. We fought hard and that's what we do best."

"Both of us know each other's games pretty well and both of us know it's not good to get frustrated after points," Kallgren said. "If one us isn't playing so well we can pull each other through and help each other out. We complement each other well in that regard."

D'Abreo said the dominant 6-0 second set win over the Barnetts kicked himself and Kallgren into gear.

"We got in our groove," D'Abreo said. "We were serving well, everything was going for us."

Both Kallgren and D'Abreo can serve and volley with the best and each is comfortable playing at the net or along the backline. They're tall, long players who can encompass the court. The top Crusaders coupling is the No. 1 seed at the state tournament in a field that has top teams from McMinnville, Lincoln, Roseburg and of course, the three other quality Jesuit squads.

"State is a completely different animal," D'Abreo said. "We know we have to be prepared, but if we play how we did at districts, I think we'll be fine."

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