Tigers claim second straight Medford title
MEDFORD -- The Newberg boys tennis team's annual trek south to the Medford Invitational is not only a chance for the squad to bond and get in a lot of tennis, but an important measuring stick for coach Dave Brown.
The Tigers often return to face a dizzying schedule in the weeks leading up to districts, so the trip serves as an opportunity to hit the reset button and get in the right mindset for the stretch run.
Thanks to a dominating performance from its doubles lineup, Newberg appears to have its head in the right place after roaring past Barlow to win the tournament for the second consecutive year.
"It's always fun for our guys to go to Medford and it's fun to win it," Brown said. "It's fun to get it two years in a row, but we need to get deeper and we will. We've got a lot of good young players coming up."
The Tigers were coming off a tough match vs. Tualatin April 18, which saw the two teams tie 4-4, with the Timberwolves winning 9-8 on sets won.
Newberg won all four doubles matches, but a three-set win at No. 2 doubles gave Tualatin the advantage when the match came down to sets. Spencer Lanier played well and nearly got that set back for the Tigers, but fell 6-4, 6-4 at No. 4 singles.
"We had a couple of opportunities to win sets and didn't," Brown said. "We kind of felt like we gave that one away."
Newberg got on a roll Friday in Medford and never really slowed down.
It was an all-Tigers affair in the doubles final Saturday, where No. 1 pair Matt Weiler and Quinton Nigbur beat teammates Ben O'Loughlin and Zach Blizard 6-3, 6-1.
"It was closer than that score," Brown said. "There were a lot of games at deuce in the first set, but Ben and Zach faded in the second set and Matt and (Nigbur) were just better."
Riley Wood and Lorenzo Notaro also had a nice weekend, advancing to the consolation finals before falling 13-11 in a superset tiebreaker.
"I was really proud of those two," Brown said. "They had to play five matches in two days and they did a good job. It was good for them. They hadn't played together and they made a good run."
No. 1 singles player Mike Hopkins lost his opening match, but won the consolation bracket to earn some key points in the team race, which saw Newberg finish with 28 points, Barlow with 25 and Grants Pass with 23.
The Tigers, however, came back to earth a bit Monday, falling 8-0 at Lake Oswego.
"We'd didn't see a team like Lake Oswego down there," Brown joked about Medford.
Weiler and Nigbur won the first set of their match at No. 1 doubles 6-1, but the Lakers rallied to take the second 6-4 and the third 6-3 to keep Newberg off the scoreboard as a team.
"Every game was deuce," Brown said. "We really should have won that match."
Wood and Notaro also played well at No. 4 before losing 6-4, 6-4.
"Lake O is deep," Brown said. "They're impressive."
The Tigers have not missed any league matches due to weather, but will make up a pair of non-conference matches vs. McMinnville Friday and against Glencoe Saturday. With a Three Rivers League contest versus Sherwood on Wednesday, it promises to be a busy stretch run ahead of the district tournament May 7-9.