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Jesuit and Lincoln gear up for another epic race


The two teams have taken turns winning everything for two years

The Metro League has long anointed itself as the state’s best in girls tennis, but the Metro proved its point like never before in 2012.by: MILES VANCE - SUNSET SENIOR - Sunset's Olivia Hay was one of the players who helped lead the Apollos to a third-place finish at state last year, and hopes to help Sunset rise that high again in 2013.

Jesuit and Lincoln battled tooth and claw throughout the Metro regular season, with the Cardinals winning the dual match title by the slimmest of margins and the Crusaders taking the district crown by a single point.

Then at state, each team sent one great singles player and one great doubles team on to the championship, with Jesuit’s Erin Larner winning in singles (over a Lincoln foe), Lincoln’s Kadie and Allie Hueffner winning in doubles (over a Jesuit team) and the two teams tying for the Class 6A state crown.

At the same time, Sunset just kept plugging along, scoring points and eventually finishing third to make it a 1-2-3 Metro League sweep.

And the league may be just as good again in the 2013 season.

The Metro League’s coaches expect a third straight nail-biter of a race between Jesuit and Lincoln, and the Apollos are hoping to coast along under the radar and just keep winning again.

“Looking into my crystal ball, I’m going with ‘Linc-suit,’” said Beaverton coach Katy Robinson. “It will either be Lincoln or Jesuit or both if they split the season. Both teams have ridiculous talent that no other team in the league can even approach.”

Sunset coach Bryan Lurie agreed in full, mentioning that his team was aiming to be the Beaverton School District’s best, while offering that “Jesuit and Lincoln should battle to the end.”

That said, Aloha is aiming for better things under new coach Lisa Leslie, Beaverton expects to be better, youthful Southridge sees the chance for improvement, and Westview feels like it will have a chance to battle all but the league’s elite.

Following are previews of the varsity girls tennis teams at the six Beaverton-area Metro League high schools.


ALOHA — Aloha is ready.

Ready to work. Ready to learn. Ready to improve.

If the Warriors do those three things, first-year coach Lisa Leslie knows they’ll be successful regardless of their eventual win-loss record.

“The key ... is to continually work on their skills and to remember that every match is a learning experience,” Leslie said. “They are working hard as a team to be able to dissect play and to see how they can gain more and more experience.”

They’ll need to do all that and more to be ready for the frighteningly tough Metro League, which includes the top three teams (Jesuit, Lincoln and Sunset) from the 2012 state tournament.

This year, Aloha will look to junior Vineta Gleba and senior Michelle Valdez at the top of the singles ladder, then to junior Kricia Ruano and sophomore Lucy Nguyen.

“Vineta Gleba and Michelle Valdez really anchor the team at one and two singles. They are very consistent and really work hard,” Leslie said, adding that Ruano “is a leader who supports her teammates and keeps the team together. Her strength is her ability to hit the ball hard and really put some heat behind her serves.”

In doubles play, the Warriors will call on juniors Angie Tran and Avanka Dias at No. 1, juniors Sayeeda Saieh and Crystal Vega at second doubles, juniors Kelly Bame and Jackie Juarez at No. 3, and senior Valeska Ramirez and junior Savannah Clendine at fourth doubles.

“Aloha is ready to show big improvements this year,” Leslie added. “We are ready to be competitive and show that we are growing in skill and ability to make great plays in a match.”


BEAVERTON — If chemistry, coaching and work ethic mean anything, then the 2013 season might just be a good one for the Beaverton girls tennis team.

“This group of girls is unlike any team I have ever coached in terms of work ethic, competition during practice, and encouragement,” said Beaverton coach Katy Robinson, whose team finished fifth at 5-7 in the 2012 regular season and fifth again at district. “To be successful, they need to continue to improve with every week, every match and every practice.”

This year’s Beaverton team will be led by sophomore Sankavi Subbiah and junior Anna Reutin — she won the district singles consolation championship last year — at the top of the singles lineup, followed by juniors Danielle Hartzog and Jessica Maung.

Beyond that, though, the team will look to its quintet of seniors — Michelle Fahlbusch, Janet Zaltsman, Maddie Shoemaker, Nicole Anderson and Allie Fox — for both their on-court and off-court leadership skills.

“Our team leaders are our core group of five seniors,” Robinson said. “They are phenomenal young ladies and outstanding role models for the younger players.”

There are more of the team’s young, talented players in doubles, with freshmen Alyssa Christensen and Tayllor Christensen to play at No. 1, junior Carolyn Graeper and freshman Emma Kennedy at second doubles, juniors Danira Bilanovic and Emily Collins at No. 3, and seniors Fahlbusch and Zaltsman at fourth doubles, while junior Emily Coffee will also see time in doubles.

“Our best players are young and talented,” Robinson added. “All of the girls in the lineup have potential to win any Metro League match at their position.”

by: MILES VANCE - JESUIT STAR - Jesuit junior Erin Larner is back in search of her third straight Metro League singles championship and her third straight Class 6A state singles championship this year, and also hopes to lead the Crusaders past Lincoln in the team race.


BEAVERTON — Here we go again.

The three-year odyssey of Jesuit-vs.-Lincoln heads into its next chapter this year, and it ought to be great once again.

In 2011, Lincoln’s first year in the Metro League, the Cardinals snapped Jesuit’s 160-match league winning streak, edged the Crusaders for the league’s district crown, then edged Jesuit again to win state.

In 2012, Jesuit turned the tables a bit, winning the Metro district title, then tying the Cardinals for the state championship.

At this point, however, the Crusaders are just trying to make sure they’re ready for the tests ahead.

“I am blessed to have a group of girls that works hard during practice to help improve their game and strategy,” said Jesuit coach Kirsten Ruchaber, who has coached the Crusaders to 12 league titles and seven state crowns in 13 years. “I hope the girls compete to the best of their ability during league play to keep us competing strong.”

There’s plenty of experienced talent back to make that happen, led by junior Erin Larner, the two-time defending Class 6A state singles champion, junior Darby Rosette (a 2012 district quarterfinalist), junior Meghana Rao (a state doubles runner-up), and senior co-captains Maddy Sandquist and Sarah Murphy. Joining Larner in the singles lineup will be freshman Bess Waldram at No. 2, Rosette at third singles, and sophomore Nicole Fouts or sophomore Laurel Nee at No. 4.

In doubles, Rao and Murphy will go at No. 1, followed by Sandquist and Katherine Benedict at second doubles, junior Isabelle Muench and senior Lea Campbell at No. 3, and either freshman Nicole Peterson and sophomore Kathryn Sandquist, or sophomore Brigid Kelley and freshman Emily Holman at fourth doubles.

“I have some strong singles players and doubles teams this season,” Ruchaber said. “I am hopeful that my singles players and doubles teams will pose a threat to others in our league. Making it to postseason play is always our goal.”


BEAVERTON — The future is bright indeed at Southridge.

The 2013 version of the Skyhawk girls tennis team is young — make that extremely young — and may have its struggles in 2013, but looks for better things in years to come.

“I really like my team,” said Southridge coach Chuck Eidenschink. “It’s a great team. We’re really athletic, but we’re probably a couple years away.”

This year’s Southridge lineup will include two freshmen (MacKenzie Hotan and Cassidy Rowland) at first and second singles, and two sophomores (Alexa Pittmon and Jessica Kaiser) at third and fourth, but Eidenschink thinks they’ll hold their own and learn this year.

Hotan “won’t beat the top players, but she’ll be one of the better players on the high school scene,” Eidenschink said. “She’s just a great girl.”

In doubles, the Skyhawks will look to sophomores Molly Burchfield and Tori Niska at No. 1, junior Rimi Yoneya and sophomore Katie Chanthakhoun at second doubles, senior Winnie Lee and junior Chie Tanaka at No. 3, and junior Natalie Palin and senior Jessica Lee at fourth doubles.

“We’re planning for the future,” Eidenschink said. “But there will be a very steep learning curve for next year and the year after.”

Still, Eidenschink does see the chance for some success this year, even in the painfully challenging Metro League.

“The Metro is a really good league. It just happens to be the best league in the state,” he said. “But I think we can beat Aloha and maybe have a chance against some of the others.”


CEDAR MILL — The Sunset girls tennis team found itself in an unusual position in 2012.

The Apollos finished just third in the Metro League, trailing talented Jesuit and Lincoln in the final standings and again at district. And while that wasn’t unusual, it was unusual that Sunset did it again the next week and finished third at state, trailing again Jesuit and Lincoln to create its best season in a very, very long time.

While it is yet to be determined whether the Apollos can climb those heights again at state, they absolutely believe they can repeat their success in Metro play.

“I think we’ll be vying for the title of best public school team in the Beaverton School District,” said Sunset coach Bryan Lurie.

There’s good reason to believe they can do it too. This year’s Sunset team will led by senior Olivia Hay at No. 1 singles, after she earned a berth to state in 2012 and played her way to the tournament quarterfinals in doubles.

“Olivia Hay is coming off her first trip to the state tournament last year,” Lurie said. “She will be playing some tough singles opponents in the Metro League this year, but she will continue to practice doubles in hopes of returning to the state tourney.”

There’s more experience back, too, and lots of it, including senior Lucy Nam at second singles, sophomore Nicole Partch at third singles and sophomore Lori Sun at No. 4.

In doubles play, Sunset brings back more varsity experience in senior Michelle Tai and junior Bona Yang at No. 1, senior Julianna Cook at second doubles (along with sophomore Julie Levelle), and seniors Maren Hansen and Taylor Cyr at No. 4. Newcomers Halle Sylva (a freshman) and Rebecka Engstrand (a senior) will go at No. 3.

The key will be “the play and development of our younger players combined with the continued strength and leadership of our seniors,” Lurie said.


ROCK CREEK — The Wildcats are ready to breathe the rarified air of success this year.

After finishing fifth and fourth in the Metro League the past two years, Westview believes it has what it takes to move into the league’s upper echelon.

“We’ve been in the middle of the pack the last couple years, but I’d like to see us in the top three,” said Westview coach Tom Lefor. “That would be a nice improvement. That’s the goal.”

The Wildcats bring back three of their top singles players, three of their top doubles teams and seem well-armed to make that run at third place that Lefor mentioned. Junior Roopa Rumanujam is back at No. 1 singles, (she was a district quarterfinalist in doubles last year and in singles the year before), joined there by talented freshman Anna Mikami at No. 2, senior Aileen Gonzalez at third singles and sophomore Erika Epperson at No. 4.

“It’s hard (for Ramanujam) to go against Lincoln or Jesuit, but she’s been a great leader for us,” Lefor said. “She’s already been in some fantastic matches.”

In doubles, Westview will look to juniors Chewy Xiao and Elizabeth Pham at No. 1, and senior Loren Losli and junior Angela Zhu at second doubles.

“The first two doubles teams may fluctuate a bit,” Lefor said. “They’re pretty evenly matched and they kind of take turns beating each other in challenge matches.”

Senior Ann Tharappel and sophomore Anusha Sanka will go at No. 3, and sophomores Sumana Talakola and Susmitha Rayakota are at fourth doubles.