Collyn Erion dominated nearly never opponent he played this season, forcing them into errors with maddening consistency on the court.
The South Salem High School junior learned how that feels Friday.
Playing Lincoln junior Goutham Sundaram in the semifinal round of the OSAA Class 6A state tennis tournament at Portland Tennis Center, Erion had nearly every shot returned and was consistently on defense in a 6-1, 6-1 loss.
“He didn’t miss, but he’s still aggressive, and you never get easy shots,” said Erion, who defeated Century’s Tommy Edwards 6-4, 6-4 in Friday’s quarterfinal round.
“If you want to beat him it’s going to take hours. You have to be able to place your shots really well. If you’re not completely on point he’s really tough to beat.”
Erion moves on to play for third place at 10:15 a.m. today at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton.
Also playing for third place at the same time is the Sprague doubles team of Lauren Mann and Mackenzie Fraser, who play Lincoln’s Sarah Shattuck and Lilli Wheary.
Local players losing in Friday’s quarterfinal round were West Salem senior Kaitlyn Murray and South Salem junior Courtney Hammagren in 6A singles and Silverton senior Alex Carlier lost in 5A singles.
Erion is playing for third place for the second time in three years. He placed third in doubles as a freshman.
“I know it’s going to be tough,” Erion said. “I think I can win, but I know that I’m going to have to play well.”
It was the third time Erion played Sundaram – the No. 1 singles seed in the tournament – this season, and the closest Erion had been against Sundaram previously was a 6-2, 6-2 loss in the Jesuit Invitational.
Sundaram didn’t make unforced errors, even when he had a difficult shot, and made Erion move around a lot with his aggressive play at the net.
“The thing about it is that even though he only got a game in each set off him, it was so much closer than that in that Gouthan literally every time could get the ball back,” South Salem coach Todd Bobeda said.
“Goutham, literally every time could get the ball back, and he could put a cross-court slice from the front third of the net as a winning shot. He’s one of the toughest guys to play. He’s always set up. C.J. played some awesome tennis today.”
Fraser and Mann were in the state semifinals for the first time in their fourth consecutive state tournament appearance.
In Friday’s quarterfinal round they defeated St. Mary’s Seirra Lemon and Sophie Peel 6-2, 6-2 to guarantee a placing at the tournament for the first time.
“It feels great,” Mann said. “I’ve never gotten this far. I was really loose because I felt like I had nothing to lose. I made it to the quarters, and that was good enough for me.”
Against the Lemon/Peel combination, Fraser and Mann were aggressive in charging the net and kept the St. Mary’s girls on the defensive.
“It’s always the plan to stay aggressive,” Mann said. “We control the points, keeping them deep and then just coming to the net and finishing the point is our game plan. They play back because they were scared.
“We don’t like to play back ever. We just keep going, keep staying aggressive.”
Mann and Fraser lost 6-1, 6-3 to Jesuit’s Darby Rosette and Sarah Murphy in the semifinals.
Murray lost a tough 7-6 (4), 6-2 match to Lincoln senior Arianna Fardanesh in the quarters.
She broke Fardanesh’s serve while down 5-4 in the first, but Fardanesh excelled in the tiebreaker.
“I felt good at that point,” said Murray, who placed third in doubles a year ago. “I felt like I was putting more pressure on her and causing her to miss more. I felt like I was relaxed and was hitting my shots, and everything was going my way at that point in the match. I felt good at the time.”
Hammagren lost a 6-0, 6-0 match to top-seeded Jesuit junior Erin Larner in the quarterfinals.
“I felt good,” Hammagren said. “I’m really happy with how far I made it considering that this is my first year the state tournament. I was happy with it.
“Not many times do you get to play a player like Erin Larner. She’s a really amazing player. It was a really good experience for me.”
Carlier lost 6-0, 6-0 to Crescent Valley junior Jamie Fisher, a rematch of the Mid-Willamette Conference district tournament of a week ago.
Silverton senior Kelsey Rosborough advanced to today’s consolation final, where he plays Hood River Valley’s Scott Ziegner.
Also playing in today’s consolation finals is Sprague junior Corbin Coursey.
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