Nate Harder and Jonah Lovell were losing and not exactly happy about it.
Sprague High School’s No. 1 doubles team lost the first set of Thursday’s dual meet 6-1 to McKay’s Jason Tran and William Schaap and fell behind 4-3 in the second set.
“I think I definitely show my emotions on my sleeve,” said Harder, a junior.
“You slammed your racket in the net,” said Lovell, a senior.
“That also happens, but I calmed down and I think that helped me play a lot better, play longer points and stay in the point,” Harder said.
The longer points helped, and their combined play at the net made a bigger impact.
Lovell and Harder rebounded to win 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 to help the Olympians to a 7-1 dual meet win against the Royal Scots on Thursday afternoon in a Greater Valley Conference dual meet at Courthouse Tennis Center.
Sprague finishes the dual meet season 11-2 and goes for its 12th consecutive district championship at the May 12-14 GVC district tournament at Salem Tennis and Swim Club.
But unlike past years, when Sprague was the heavy favorite to win the district team crown, the Olympians have been challenged this season.
“Our team, I feel like we’re still hungry,” said No. 1 singles player Logan Blair. “We still have that mentality like we do every year. We’re going to go in and Sprague tennis at districts, we’re going to dominate that.
“For our team, looking for us to be excited as an opportunity to show everybody that even though we’re not deep, our players play best when it matters the most and that we can come together and cheer each other on.”
As a doubles pair, Harder and Lovell improve to 4-1 in conference dual meets and made a claim for the No. 1 seed for the district tournament.
Playing on their home court at Courthouse, Tran and Schaap played aggressively early in the match, painting the ball down the lines and keeping Lovell and Harder guessing.
In the second set, the Sprague pair led 3-2, but Tran and Schaap broke their serve to lead 4-3. But Schaap and Harder won three straight games and their aggressive play at the net in the third set put the match away.
“I think we kind of warmed up to their pace,” Lovell said. “At first they would hit it really hard and we wouldn’t be ready for it, but then we got our rackets up and we were ready for it in the second set and the third set. It was hard to adjust to at first.”
Blair continued his undefeated run through the Greater Valley Conference at No. 1 singles with a 6-3, 6-0 win against McKay senior Ralph Musni.
Last year’s GVC district singles champion Blair improved to 11-0 in conference singles matches.
“Credit to him, he played really well that match,” said Blair, a junior. “He had his ups and downs like we all do in the match.
“It’s just a matter of how consistent are those ups and downs. Can you keep it at a minimum or is it going to erupt? To be honest, he played a really solid match, especially that first set. I got sloppy here and there, I started rushing my serve, but that was also because he was putting pressure on me and he played really well.”
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6701 or Twitter.com/bpoehler
Sprague 7, McKay 1
At Courthouse Tennis Center
Singles: Blair (S) d. Musai 6-3, 6-0; Sebastian Hammond (S) d. Edgar Garibay 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-2; Ben Whitson (S) d. Jason Yue 6-2, 7-6 (4), Daniel Dang (M) d. Hayden Cole 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles: Jonah Lovell/Nate Harder (S) d. Jason Tran/William Schaap 1-6, 6-4, 6-3; Kyle Schuller/Jimin Lee (S) d. Daniel Huyhn/Henry Trinh 6-1, 6-2; Ian Allen/Ethan Danani (S) d. Emmanuel Martinez/Ben Ho 6-3, 6-0; Josiah Barkes/Brady Roskop (S) d. Chris Padilla/Derek Nguyen 6-3, 6-2.