Mac doubles teams record state victories
BEAVERTON – After a two-and-out performance at the OSAA Class 6A State Tennis Championships in 2013, the McMinnville girls’ doubles team of junior Sam Purdy and senior Molly Olsen was determined to advance as far as possible in 2014.
Olsen and Purdy advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class 6A state championships, held Thursday through Saturday at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton.
“Not many teams from McMinnville can say that,” Grizzlies coach Angelica Huston said.
After a first-round bye, Olsen and Purdy took out Central Catholic junior Emma Anderson and sophomore Julia Johnson, 6-4, 7-5, to earn a berth into the state quarterfinals.
They faced the Jesuit team of sophomore Nicole Peterson and freshman Danielle Larner, which had upset the No. 4-seeded Elaine Fang and Hannah Nute of South Eugene earlier in the tournament. (Larner is the younger sister of Jesuit senior Erin Larner, the 6A singles state champion.)
Danielle Larner and Peterson proved too much for Olsen and Purdy, who fell 6-2, 6-0, and were eliminated from the tournament.
“(Peterson), if you gave her anything at the net, it was gone. That point was lost,” Huston said. “She put everything away. Larner had some great stroke performance from the baseline, was able to hit line whenever Molly poached. Our girls always at least got to 30.
“Both teams took it up the second set but they’re just clearly a tennis team.”
The Grizzlies concluded one of the best seasons in school history, having won the Class 6A Pacific Conference with a 13-1 record (14-1 overall) and advanced a player – in this case, a doubles team – to the quarterfinals for the first time this decade.
“Even though the other girls weren’t competing, half the team was up there to support them both days,” Huston said. “That’s a testament to the camaraderie on the team.”
Colombari, Post make consolation finals
The state championships experience for McMinnville senior Edoardo Colombari and junior Daniel Post got off to a rocky start.
Colombari and Post were ousted from the 6A boys’ doubles championship bracket on Thursday, falling 6-1, 6-1, to twin brothers Kyle and Cameron Chin of Grant.
On Friday, the Grizzlies found a rhythm in the consolation bracket, dispatching Barlow juniors Parker Joncus and Andrew Cox, 8-1. Colombari and Post then matched up against familiar foes – the Tigard doubles team of seniors Tanner Ahl and Mitch Davis. The Grizzlies defeated the Tigers, 8-5, to advance to Saturday’s consolation final.
Roseburg’s doubles team of freshman Lucas Ball and senior Tanner Baumgartner proved to be tough competition in the consolation finals. Ball and Baumgartner defeated Colombari and Post, 6-3, 6-4; the McMinnville duo was the sixth-place team in the tournament.
“It really came down to just returning the serve,” Grizzlies coach Alex Martin said. “It was a lefty and a righty and they both had some funky serves. Daniel just couldn’t get the range on his returns, and I think it became a mental thing. There was a lot of finality to this match. They pressed a little bit.
“I was proud of the way they fought. They fought all the way to the end. They kept looking for answers, trying to find a way through.”
Thus ended Martin’s first season at the helm of Mac’s boys tennis program, in which the Grizzlies posted a 7-7 Pacific Conference record (8-7 overall)
“This season was building a foundation,” he said. “You graduate 12 guys -- there’s no foundation left. We built up a foundation. We’ve got great kids coming back; the JV team was stocked with kids getting experience.”
As an example of what can be, Martin again turns to Post. As a sophomore, he primarily played either No. 3 singles or No. 3 doubles. This season, he posted a 20-4 record in singles and doubles, virtually all against the opposition’s top players.
“He’s just put the time in,” Martin said. “To see a kid get rewarded like that is awesome. Sports don’t always do things the right way but nice to see when a kid gets rewarded the right way. It’s a testament to the team.”