Newberg kicks off the spring with pair of wins
After losing six starters from last season's squad, the Newberg boys tennis team is much younger this spring, but nonetheless kicked off its season in encouraging fashion with wins over Forest Grove and West Albany.
The Tigers got underway at home Thursday, cruising to a 6-1 win before rain canceled the final match at No. 4 singles, during the second set.
Newberg will be led by the senior duo of Matt Weiler and Ben O'Loughlin, who breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 win versus the Vikings. Weiler advanced to the second round at the state tournament with former partner Jasper Riogeist and decided to make another run at doubles with O'Loughlin rather than switch to No. 1 singles.
The Tigers also got straight sets wins in doubles from Jess Pintor and Johnathan Guzman at No. 2, Riley Wood and Austin Jenkens at No. 3 and Kevin Sandberg and Neil Voss at No. 4.
Sophomores Mike Hopkins and Paul Sperling also won in straight sets at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, while junior Quinton Nybur fell 6-7 (6-4), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in a close match at No. 1 singles.
Newberg was scheduled to open against West Albany March 13, but the match was delayed until Monday, which worked out well for the Tigers, who were ready for a tougher challenge after downing Forest Grove.
Nybur bounced back with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 1 singles, with Weiler and O'Loughlin cruising 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 doubles to give the Tigers an early 2-0 lead.
"He did a good job Monday," NHS coach Dave Brown said of Nybur. "He hits a good top-spin ball that just drops. He hits the ball deep and he's really smart about coming in and has gotten really good at his mid-court volleys, so he surprises kids that just want to stay on the baseline."
The Bulldogs leveled things with wins at No. 2 singles, as Hopkins fell 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, and No. 2 doubles, where Pintor and Guzman were beaten 7-5, 6-1.
Sperling's 6-2 win at No. 3 singles offset a 6-1, 1-6, 2-6 loss by Sandberg and Voss at No. 4 doubles, leaving the result up to Wood and Lorenzo Notaro at No. 3 doubles and Joel Luft at No. 4 singles.
Wood and Notaro, an Italian exchange student, rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory to put Newberg up 4-3 and, because Newberg led overall in sets won, essentially wrap up the match.
Luft, however, put on a good show in the last match, rallying from a 6-4 opening set loss to win the second 7-6 (7-2) and force a super-set tiebreaker, which he went on to win 11-9 to give the Tigers the win outright 5-3.
"Everybody was watching at the end. I knew we had it in sets, but it was good for Joel to get a win there," Brown said. "They were pretty even and that match went on for about two hours and 20 minutes."