COOS BAY — With the rain falling steadily atop the metal roof of the William J. Sweet Tennis Center, the boys tennis teams from Marshfield and North Bend gathered for a scheduled match with differing stakes attached.
North Bend is preparing for a challenging upcoming week, with matches against Grants Pass and St. Mary’s before heading to the Marist Tournament, where a match with state-best Summit is inevitable.
Even so, North Bend is playing well. Its 5-1 win Tuesday was the Bulldogs’ fifth in as many tries, with all four North Bend singles players winning in straight sets.
Matt Jordan is nearly 100 percent after suffering a knee injury on a skateboard and said he felt good after his second singles match of the season on Tuesday. His 6-1, 6-0 victory over Zack Randle included five aces, and Jordan scored a number of other points because of his firm and accurate serve.
“I thought I served pretty well,” he said. “Couple double faults at the end though. Got fatigued, I guess.”
Jim Jordan, Matt’s father and North Bend's coach, said that his son’s shoulder still has some developing to do, and that they need to be smart with how hard he’s trying to hit it.
“He’s still physically developing,” the coach said. “He’s got more swing than he does shoulder, perhaps. So he’s gotta kinda temper his swing to preserve his shoulder. He’s gotta be tested by some good No. 1s to get ready for the districts in the first week of May.”
That will play into North Bend’s upcoming difficult week.
“It’s all about getting him some competition to be ready for the districts,” Jim Jordan said.
Meanwhile, Marshfield’s lone win came in the No. 1 doubles match, featuring junior twins Max and Josh Nicolaus.
In a year focused on getting the pair to the second day of the state tournament, the Nicolaus twins beat Lucas Parvin and Graham Lyons 6-1, 6-1.
“If we can do that, then we’ll have a chance,” Nicolaus said. “And next year will be next year. We’ll be stronger next year.”
In the No. 2 singles match, Kendall Ehlin beat Austin Deshazer 6-1, 6-1. Deshazer said he wasn’t wearing any corrective lenses, which are a necessity, but wouldn’t use that as an excuse.
“Normally I don’t have a problem,” he said. “I don’t want to blame it on not being able to see. He was really unpredictable. Actually, he was pretty predictable. He did the same move, like sliced it to me and I couldn’t really return it.”
In the No. 3 match, James Farlow beat Alex Hernandez 6-3, 6-2, which was an improvement from the last time the pair played in which Hernandez only scored a couple of game wins.
“That’s a kid if he comes back year after year, if he plays at all during the offseason, he’ll do well,” Nicolaus said of Hernandez.
Like the girls program, Nicolaus is working to improve the overall skill level and has been impressed by the level of improvement. Nicolaus pointed out Joshua Olson, who didn’t play on Wednesday, as someone who has steadily improved.
“Everyone else, with no exceptions, has started from maybe less than zero, like literally started from scratch,” Nicolaus said. “They’ve all surprised me.”