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Central Catholic boys close out Barlow in tight battle

Carl Sonnenscheins shutout win in singles play makes the difference


by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Central Catholics Joe Palodichuk waits for a serve during his 6-4, 7-5 win in No. 1 singles Wednesday. The Central Catholic boys tennis team survived its toughest challenge of the year in Wednesday’s finale against Barlow, going to a tiebreaker to get past the Bruins and complete a perfect 10-0 run through the Mount Hood Conference season.

The Rams swept the singles ladder with Joe Palodichuk claiming a 6-4, 7-5 win over Barlow’s Kyle Helm at the No. 1 spot. Palodichuk held a slim lead throughout the first set before seeing Helm pull even 4-4 after using a series of forehand blasts to move his opponent back-and-forth across the baseline.

But Palodichuk didn’t tire.

Instead, he came back to break Helm’s serve, and ended the set with a forehand blast that beat Helm to the back corner.

Helm would put up an even stronger challenge in the second set by racing to a 4-1 lead. But once again, Palodichuk answered the call by taking the next four games to gain the upper hand.

“I kept telling myself I was only down a break,” Palodichuk said. “Our first set was a grind, and he (Helm) started hitting the ball well in the second set. I had to switch things up a bit.”

Palodichuk ended the match by serving out a love-game, preventing Barlow from stealing a set that would have given the Bruins the team victory.

“Our singles have been taking care of business all year, and today every set was important — that’s what it came down to in the end,” Palodichuk said.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Central Catholics Michael Kuhn makes a serve during a 6-4, 6-2 loss in the No. 3 doubles match.

Carl Sonnenschein picked up a key 6-0, 6-0 victory in No. 2 singles and will join Palodichuk in the doubles bracket at next week’s district tournament. The pair advanced to the state quarterfinals last year. The two have played together at several recent tournaments to get tuned up for the end of season events.

“Last year we got to the quarterfinals before running into the top seed,” Palodichuk said. “We’re looking to go even deeper this year.”

The Rams completed the singles sweep with straight-set wins by Gabe Polo and John Phan, clinching the dual victory when Phan didn’t surrender a game in the second set of his victory.

The Bruins swept the doubles ladder to leave the team dual deadlocked 4-4, but Central Catholic won the match based on a 69-66 edge in the “games won” tiebreaker to finish the league schedule with a 10-0 record.

The Mount Hood Conference district tournament is set for Monday through Wednesday, May 6-8, at Gresham High.

The Central Catholic girls closed out the regular season with a 5-3 win over Barlow to finish as the dual-meet champs with an 11-1 record. The girls district tournament also begins Monday with matches at David Douglas High School.

View an online photo gallery from the boys dual at daveball.exposuremanager.com.