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Crusaders duo, Morse advance to semis

State Tennis EUGENE ' A first trip to the state tournament is bound to bring about a few jitters and tentative hits from any tennis player.

It's how the newcomers respond to those nerves that truly separates them from the pack.

Cascade Christian and St. Mary's each had first-timers take to the courts for the Class 3A/2A/1A state tourney at the Eugene Swim and Tennis Club on Friday, and each stood tall once the day was complete.

Challengers freshman Scott Morse advanced to today's semifinals in singles with a pair of victories on Friday, while the Crusaders' top doubles team of freshman Casey Schein and sophomore Lacey Hall held up its end with two wins for a date in today's semifinals as well.

Schein and Hall opened with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Catlin Gabel's Lola Berbiela and Whitney Goodman, but those numbers belied the nature of the match.

There was definitely some jitters going on in their first match, said St. Mary's coach Rick Jackson. The scores didn't reflect how close the match was. There was a number of deuce games and they had break points against them on their service and things like that.

— With their state debut a success, second-seeded Schein and Hall settled down and soundly defeated Baker sophomores Katie Smith and Sami Tugman 6-0, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

In the second game, they played much better, said Jackson. They hit clean shots and played with a lot more confidence. Hopefully that carries over for tomorrow, since now they know what to expect.

The Crusaders will face fourth-seeded Nicole Foti and Delancy Albers of Cascade in this morning's semifinals at 9:30. It'll be the continuation of an already thrilling campaign for St. Mary's, which reinstated its girls tennis program this season for the first time since 1985.

Unlike the Crusaders duo, Morse didn't have problems with jitters in his opening match, a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Baker junior Jerame Petry. His main obstacle came in the quarterfinals in the form of Catlin Gabel standout Andrew Oseran.

The Cascade Christian freshman recovered from an opening-set loss to notch a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 triumph. The lengthy match pitted two similarly skilled players pounding shot after shot at one another.

Tentative play held Morse back somewhat in the first-set loss, but words of encouragement from his coach ' and father ' helped bring about a more aggressive game plan for the remainder of the match.

In between sets I told him you need to be aggressive and attack him to keep him off-guard, said Brian Morse.

The strategy of putting pressure on Oseran by forcing him from side to side paid off as the Catlin Gabel senior began committing errors and opened the door for the younger Morse.

Scott Morse broke Oseran's serve in the second set to win, then held his own serve to close out a grueling third set.

Morse will play No. 2 seed Brandon Wei of Oregon Episcopal School in today's semifinals at 9 a.m. Wei was the state runner-up as a freshman last year.

CLASS 4A BOYS ' At Beaverton, North Medford's top doubles team of sophomore David Longmire and freshman Tanner Borg advanced to the quarterfinals before coming up short against top-seeded Lee Lenker and Albert Song of Sunset in the state tournament at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.

Longmire and Borg cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 opening victory against Redmond seniors Nate Jacobus and Andres Chong, then followed that up with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Grant juniors Mark Johnston and Cameron Mitchell.

The Black Tornado tandem barely missed out on advancing to the semifinals in their third match on Friday, falling to the Lenker-Song pairing in a 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 affair.

In other doubles action Friday, the North pair of freshman Austin Schoenlein and senior Steve Folsom dropped its opener to eventual semifinalists Niles Beckley and Brent Kingzett of South Eugene. The Tornado duo rallied in the consolation bracket to earn an 8-5 victory over Newberg's Tyler Brown and Stephen Pearson before ultimately falling to Westview's Jeff Cero and Prateek Bhide, 8-1.

In singles play, North Medford sophomore Michael Tribble lost his second-round match to top-seeded Stephen Wiechert of Churchill, 6-0, 6-0.

Fellow Tornado Colt Hoeptner remains alive in the consolation bracket after posting wins over Barlow's Nick Jenness (8-1) and Bend's Joel Hehn (8-4). The freshman will face Crescent Valley's Andrew Pritchard in today's consolation semifinals.

Ashland's Kyle Lachmund lost to Putnam's Brad Henson 8-2 in consolation play.

CLASS 4A GIRLS ' At Portland, South Medford sisters Sam and Natalie Ruffe and Ashland's Kayla Moyse each advanced to the quarterfinals before being eliminated Friday in the state tournament at Portland Tennis Center.

The Ruffes, sophomore Sam and freshman Natalie, beat Lake Oswego's Marcella McKee and Dayna Remmers 6-4, 7-5 in their first doubles match, and kept up the momentum for a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Hermiston seniors Rene Swoboda and Rebekah Adams.

The fifth-seeded Panthers fell short in the quarterfinals, however, to Jesuit's Kristen Wong and Anni Zahniser, 6-3, 6-2.

North's top doubles team of sophomores Erica Schultz and Sarah Louie dominated their opening match against Jesuit's Kristine Leavens and Leslie Mallory (6-0, 6-0), but couldn't get past South Salem's Sallie Katter and Amy Curtis (6-3, 5-7, 6-1) in the second round.

Moyse, the two-time Southern Oregon Conference champion, cruised past Lincoln's Sarah Neuman for a 6-1, 6-2 second-round win in singles, but the fifth-seeded senior once again fell short of the semifinals when No. 2 seed Rika Mehndiratta of Jesuit scored a 6-4, 6-1 victory.

In other championship singles play, North Medford senior Lauren Wilson was eliminated by Sprague senior Mikayla Rogers in a 6-3, 6-2 second-round match.

In consolation play, South Medford sophomore Emily Works scored an 8-2 win over Sunset's Katie Lorish before falling shy against The Dalles Wahtonka's Natasha Martin (8-1).