Tennis signee Tierney wins Oregon 6A championship
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tennis signee Tierney wins Oregon 6A championship

From The Oregonian

By Brian Gjurgevich

BEAVERTON -- After Stuart Tierney closed out his final match and let out a primal scream toward the sky, a young fan was first on the court to ask for the Glencoe senior's autograph.

At long last, Tierney could sign it "state champion."

A top youth player and oft-injured prep standout who finished third in Class 5A last season, Tierney rode his powerful forehand and cruised to an inspired 6-3, 6-1 victory over South Medford junior Matt Pronesti on Saturday in the 6A boy's singles final at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.

Tierney repeatedly looked to the hills behind the courts and made eye contact with his parents, but not for the encouragement he needed during a grueling three-set semifinal match on Friday that required four bottles of water, three bananas, a steak and pasta to "replenish." Instead, in this round, Tierney looked to his biggest backers for energy.

"With my mom, I get a little frustrated because I can tell by her facial expressions if she's happy with the shot or not," Tierney said. "My dad's really good at keeping a straight face. It's always a fist pump."

And there was plenty of opportunity for that during a final that featured a number of long, crowd-pleasing rallies. After winning the final three games of the first set, Tierney jumped ahead 3-0 in the decisive second, feeling nerves only when the match and once-elusive state title inched within reach.

"I got real tight there at 5-1," said Tierney, who's bound for Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., next year and had Saturday night's prom at the top of his post-match priority list. "My hands were shaking when I got that match point."

Pronesti, a surprise six-seed with a booming serve and expressive on-court demeanor, said he didn't have his best game against a player he's competed with since their middle school days.

"Nothing was really working for me," Pronesti said. "He's an all-around really solid player and I couldn't really combat it."