Tran victorious at District 1 tennis singles battle
- Miles Vance
- Beaverton Valley Times - Sports
The Valley Catholic senior also receives the top seed to the upcoming state tournament
PORTLAND - Valley Catholic senior Andrew Tran has set the table.
Now, he's poised for even bigger and better things.
Tran, Valley Catholic's top boys singles player, raced through five straight matches and claimed victory at the District 2 Tennis Tournament, which concluded Friday at Lewis and Clark College.
'He's really changed his game a lot this year,' said Valley Catholic coach Michael Kilbury. 'He's hitting a bigger, better ball this year and it's made a difference.'
Tran, third at district and fifth in the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state tournament a year ago, let nothing and no one stand in his way this year. After rolling through the district tournament's early rounds unscathed, Tran took out Catlin Gabel's Andrew Salvador 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinal, then had to face down one of the state's best players - Varun Iyengar of Oregon Episcopal -- in the finals.
But Tran held strong, played some of his best tennis of the tournament and took out Iyengar 6-2, 6-1 in the finale. In response, Tran was rewarded with the top seed to the coming Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state tournament, set today (Thursday) through Saturday at Eugene Swim and Tennis Club. Play begins at 5 p.m. today and continues at 8 a.m. both Friday and Saturday. Iyengar is the third seed at state, while the other District 1 semifinalist - Rohan Borkar of Catlin Gabel - is seeded fourth.
'Andrew is certainly the favorite at state and he should very well,' Kilbury said. 'I'm hopeful there are big things ahead for him.'
The Valiants will also send the doubles team of senior Greg Kang and sophomore Adam Quandt on to state after that duo reached the tournament semifinals and eventually finished third. Kang and Quandt very nearly made the finals too, taking the first set from eventual runners-up Alex Tallian and Trevor Apple of OES 6-4. But Apple and Tallian, now the second seeds to the state tournament, rallied to win set two 7-5 and took the third 6-2.
Kang and Quandt 'had three match points in the second set' of their semifinal, Kilbury said. 'That's a tough one. But I think they're in a good spot to have a good state tournament.'
In the final, OES teammates Ryan Nedrow and Jason Stack were too much for Apple and Tallian in the final, winning 6-2, 6-3 and earning the top seed to state in the process.
Valley Catholic did not crown a champion in the girls district tournament, but thanks to the doubles team of junior Karo Lungerich and freshman Tori Kemper, the team came pretty darn close. Lungerich and Kemper rolled through the early rounds of the tournament safely, then won a berth in the finals by beating OES' Kaitlin Casimo and Estelle Berger 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Lungerich and Kemper couldn't repeat that success in the final, but gave it a pretty good shot before falling to OES' Rivfka Shenoy and Ainhoa Maiz 6-2, 6-4. Shenoy and Maiz are top-seeded in the coming state tournament while Casimo and Berger are third-seeded and the Valiants unranked.
'Karo was our No. 1 singles player, and frankly, would have been the top player in the district until she hurt her knee badly about a month ago,' said Valley Catholic coach Chris Johnson. She 'can barely walk after a match, but has more grit than I've ever seen in a player. Paired with Tori … they have flat-out overpowered opponents during the district tourney.'
Also headed to state for VC is senior singles player Kim Vennes. Vennes battled her way into the tournament semifinals but ran into top-seeded Valerie Frank of OES there. Despite a game effort by Vennes, Frank eventually held the upper hand, winning 6-3, 6-2 and going on to take the tournament championship and the top seed to state.
Vennes played well again in the tournament's third-place match before losing to Catlin Gabel's Kate Rubinstein, the third seed to state, by a 6-3, 7-5 margin.
'Kim is a … determined tennis warrior on the court,' Johnson said. 'She has an amazing backboard game, more patience than I've ever seen in a player at any level, juniors or adult play.'