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Private schools expected to battle for tennis title

GIRLS TENNIS PREVIEW - St. Mary's returns a solid doubles lineup

St. Mary's appears to be in line for a sixth straight Mount Hood Conference girls tennis title, while the league's public schools will be battling it out in the middle of the pack.

The Blues return the bulk of last year's squad, led in doubles play by seniors Killy Judge and Emily McClaran, along with the junior tandem of Hannah Burak and Michelle Sysack - both teams were state qualifiers in 2007.

Following are previews of the five local schools:

Barlow

• After finishing in the middle of the pack last year, Barlow hopes to be on the way up behind a solid singles lineup where each returning player has moved up a spot from their position last year. Leading the way is senior Jenny Kim, while junior Kaitlyn Maddams and sophomore Emily Langos provide depth in the No. 2 and 3 spots.

The doubles lineup is headed by senior Kristy Cousineau and junior Megan Mulcahy, who is playing up from her No. 4 doubles spot last season.

'Megan came to a lot of our open play sessions in the summer and has become a real solid player,' Bruins' coach David Hunt said. 'Kristy is really aggressive at the net, and Megan is quick enough to track down anything that gets past her.'

Centennial

• Centennial will have to replace four-time district singles champion Yvette Ly, who is playing the No. 3 spot at the University of Idaho this spring. The Eagles look to junior Sarah Wong to move into the top spot this season. She played quite a few No. 1 matches last season when Ly was out with an injury.

'Sarah is quick and she gets to everything,' Eagles' coach Bryan Alvord said. 'She has a consistent forehand shot, and she is smart about where she places the ball.'

The doubles lineup is led by juniors Callia Palica and Larissa Cassidy, who enjoyed success as the team's No. 2 duo last year.

David Douglas

• David Douglas is led by a solid singles lineup that could see any one of its four players fill the team's top spot throughout the year. The rotation includes seniors Stacy Chao, Karina Riskin and Katie Grimes, along with junior Stephanie Lutz.

'Those girls could beat each other in challenge matches on any given day,' Scots' coach Chad Reeves said. 'All four players are pretty solid, and that should help us get wins in those two through four spots.'

The doubles' lineup features senior Heather Thompson and sophomore Rachel Almada in the No. 1 spot. The duo played several matches together near the end of last season.

Gresham

• Gresham won the only public school to challenge St. Mary's and Central Catholic last season, but repeating that task will be difficult this spring. The Gophers graduated their top doubles team and saw No. 1 singles player Kristina Hoang transfer to Beaverton.

Sophomore Alyssa Emoto fills the No. 1 singles spot, while the doubles lineup in led by Karen Zhou and Jamie Rednick.

Reynolds

• The Raiders went 3-5 in dual matches last year, before slipping a bit at the district tournament where they won only four bouts. Reynolds coach Stephanie Shellum could not be reached in time for this preview.