Vikings men’s tennis triumphs in Timberhill

The Timberhill Tennis Club was the host of the Corvallis Indoor Tennis Championships this past weekend, where the Portland State Vikings proudly added to their hardware collection the singles and doubles titles both.

Day one—Viking longships sail

The Championships field included Pacific University, George Fox University, Hope International University, prep players and former collegiate players. The Vikings entered Ethan Lopez, Stuart Tierney, Matt Pronesti, Nathan Chart, Wil Cochrane, and Brent Wheeler to represent in singles. Seeded Viking players included Tierney seeded third, Wil Cochrane fourth, Brent Wheeler fifth, and Pronesti sixth.

In doubles, the Vikings were led by second-seeded duo of Cochrane and Pronesti who won the Pacific Northwest Intercollegiates in the fall. They were joined in the draw by fourth seeded pair of Lopez and Wheeler, along with teammates Risenhoover and Tierney.

During the first day of the tournament, the Vikings had five of their singles entrants advanced to the second round, with Tierney and Lopez received walkovers. Cochrane and Pronesti battled hard to win tough three-setters against Pacific University’s Reuben Mulhern and George Fox’s Vincent Viloria, respectively.

Brent Wheeler won in straight sets over George Fox’s Nicholas Ekern to give the Vikings five players in the final sixteen. George Fox’s Spencer Watanabe, however, eliminated Chart with a straight sets win. In doubles, both teams in action started with straight set wins with the number two seeds receiving a bye into the second round.

Day two—a Viking siege

The second day of the tournament saw all five remaining singles for PSU advance into the quarterfinals, giving them five of the eight spots remaining in the tournament.

Lopez upset Nicholas Grafton of George Fox in straight sets, with Tierney, Pronesti, Cochrane and Wheeler also having straight set wins. In the quarterfinals, Wheeler upset the two seed, Chris Lilley of George Fox, in straight sets. Lopez squared off against Pacific University’s Grayson Frazier, who had just upset the number one seed in the tournament. After dropping the first, Lopez came back to win the second and third sets.

Teammates Tierney and Pronesti played each other in the quarterfinals, with Pronesti getting into the semifinals with a straight set win over Tierney. Watanabe of George Fox delivered an upset to Cochrane in straight sets, however, to prevent the all Vikings’ semi-finals. Teammates Lopez and Pronesti along with Wheeler gave PSU three players in the final four with Watanabe.

In doubles, second-and-fourth seeded pairs Cochrane and Pronesti with Lopez and Wheeler booked their spots into the semifinals with straight set wins. Risenhoover and Tierney also won in straight sets, which gave the Vikings three spots in the semifinals.

Lopez and Wheeler faced off against the number one seed, Mam and Pritchard, losing in a third-set tiebreaker. The other semifinal match guaranteed one Viking pair would play for the doubles title. Risenhoover and Tierney upset second seeded teammates Cochrane and Pronesti, in an 11-9 final-set tiebreaker, to reach the tournament finals against the number-one seeds.

Day three—Vikings victorious

On the final day of the tournament, Lopez and Pronesti played for a spot in the finals against either Wheeler or Watanabe. Pronesti advanced to the finals with a straight sets win over Lopez. Wheeler stopped Watanabe’s run with a comeback win after dropping the first set. The final match for the singles title would be represented by PSU’s Pronesti and Wheeler, but Pronesti received a walkover win for the title after teammate Wheeler withdrew.

In order to complete the sweep, Risenhoover and Tierney would have to take out the number-one seeds Mam and Pritchard. The Viking duo started off fast to take the first set 6-3, but dropped the second set 2-6, which set up a 10-point tiebreaker to determine the doubles championship. PSU completed the sweep with a 10-7 win in the third set tiebreaker. Pronesti, with the pair of Risenhoover and Tierney, gave PSU titles in singles and doubles in a weekend dominated by the Vikings.

Reflection on the battle

Junior Wil Cochrane appreciated the matches in Corvallis. “The tournament has helped us prepare for the season by putting a lot of match experience under our belt.” Cochrane said. “After taking most of November and December off from competition, we are not yet competing at our best. This weekend was great because we got lots of matches in a short period of time, unlike a dual which is only one singles and doubles. The experience will benefit the team by improving our match toughness. The tournament was good for us because we got lots of wins that we can carry into our next dual.”

Cochrane and the Vikings kick off their dual season Saturday at Club Green Meadows against Lewis-Clark State.