Sprague Players try to fill Void Atop GVC Boys

 

Sprague High School's Shunn Miyachi connects with the ball during a doubles with South Salem their Greater Valley Conference dual meet on Thursday, April 16, 2015, in Salem, Ore.

There is no outright favorite among the boys tennis players in the Greater Valley Conference this season.

Sprague sophomore Logan Blair is trying to fill that void.

Blair defeated South Salem junior Jimin Lee 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 singles to lead an 8-0 sweep by Sprague of South Salem in a Greater Valley Conference dual meet.

Playing No. 1 singles all season, Blair has yet to lose a league match.

He's as close to a favorite as one can tab at this point.

"I'm hoping that I play well and that all my team does well so that maybe we can get it 10 in a row, which would be awesome for the team," Blair said.

"I've been focusing on my game, obviously all year, but especially this year we have a couple seniors I'm good friends with and stuff. It would be really cool to get the seniors who haven't gone to state before to state."

The top returning singles player in the league this season is Sprague senior Griffin Fraser.

But Fraser, who placed third in the CVC in singles last year, missed Thursday's match with an injury and has been playing mostly doubles this season.

"Griffin, he's been my partner recently because his calf's been hurting so that's why he's been playing doubles with me," said Sprague's Nate Harder.

"I remember last year we had a lot of seniors and since they left I kind of knew I was going to be up at one doubles the whole year."

This is the first time in a decade in which there was no definite favorite to win the singles championship in the league.

"There's a little bit of a vacuum behind them in terms of the quality," South Salem coach James Heyen said. "There's good players, but not standouts like there were last year.

"I suspect it's going to be someone off the Sprague team that's going to win the singles title. I'd be surprised if not."

Sprague received a boost in its bid to win its 10th consecutive district championship from a pair of exchange students.

Shunn Miyachi, from Japan, played No. 1 doubles with Harder on Thursday and defeated South Salem's team of Daniel Kompolt and Ben Geyer 6-0, 6-0.

"We had no idea who he was and we heard he was really good," Blair said. "We all wanted to hit with him and see how he was. Great player, he's really a nice guy. At the first part it was hard to understand him. Great mentality. He's brought a lot to the team work ethic and a great player.

"It's cool to have exchange students because they kind of bring their culture to you. That's kind of cool."

Uri Villaubi, from Spain, played at No. 3 doubles with Kyle Sculler to defeat South Salem's Abrose Philipek and Harry Prestwich 6-0, 6-0.

 

Original Article by Bill Poehler, Statesman Journal (4-16-15)

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