But Beaverton plans to give the Crusaders a run for their money in 2008
It ain't easy being in the same league with the Jesuit girls tennis team.
The 2007 season proved that in spades, with the Crusaders rolling to Metro League and Class 6A state championships and fielding both Metro and state singles and doubles champions along the way.
And that makes Jesuit - led by '07 Metro champ and state singles runner-up Megan Moore - the prohibitive favorite again for 2008.
'Hmmm, after thinking hard about this one, my best guess is that Jesuit will be the team to beat - again - this year,' said Beaverton coach
Katy Robinson. 'They have the amazing ability to reload with the area's top players year after year, and their solid fundamentals make them a difficult opponent.'
'You always know Jesuit will be tough,' Westview coach Julie Ray said.
That said, the rest of the Metro League's teams plan to come out with all guns blazing against the Crusaders, and both Beaverton and Sunset feel they can at least challenge powerful Jesuit.
'I definitely expect Beaverton to be right in there,' Sunset coach Bryan Lurie said.
'Sunset continually has strong players (and) Beaverton had a pretty deep team last year,' Ray added. 'You never know what (Beaverton coach Katy Robinson) has up her sleeve.'
Following are previews of the varsity girls tennis teams at the six Metro League high schools.
ALOHA - It wasn't all aces and straight-set victories for Aloha last year, but the Warriors believe that 2008 can be better.
Aloha features two talented freshmen - Lilly Do and Hannah Ott - with USTA experience among its top three singles players, and new coach Gary Summerfield thinks that both have the ability to compete with the Metro League's best.
Do is 'an aggressive baseliner with good court sense and the ability to move the ball around. She can be a top player the Metro League and compete at states,' Summerfield said, adding that Ott 'is an all-court player and can hit hard off both wings.'
With Do playing No. 1 and Ott at No. 3, the Warriors call on senior returner Amra Salihovic (She has 'a solid baseline game (and) should compete well in the Metro League,' Summerfield said) at second singles and junior Ashley Azadeh at No. 4.
In doubles, Aloha will use seniors Cynthia Vuong and Jessica Gonzales at No. 1, seniors Robin Dryer and Cici Cha at No. 2, juniors Eurie Hwang and Sarah Lee at No. 3, and seniors Brittany Kramer and Rebecca Lee at No. 4.
'Our first doubles team of Gonzales and Vuong is very strong, with two senior veterans with lots of experience,' Summerfield said. 'I expect they will work well together and compete with the top Metro League teams and possibly get to state.'
BEAVERTON - Beaverton has consistently been one of the Metro League's best non-Jesuit teams over the past several years and 2008 should do little to change that.
This year's Beaverton varsity will again be led by senior No. 1 singles player Krishnaveni Subbiah, a three-time state qualifier who advanced to the Class 6A state quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Rika Mehndiratta of Jesuit.
'Krishna … has a solid baseline game,' said Beaverton coach Katy Robinson. And 'she has really worked hard to improve her all-court game.'
The rest of the Beavers' singles lineup includes junior Kathi Heimburger at No. 2, seniors Kristine Hoang (a three-time state qualifier who transferred from Gresham) at No. 3 and freshman Nicole Hartzog at No. 4, though junior Izzy Director and freshman Marina Golias may also see time in singles play.
'Kathi is a steady baseliner who will wear down opponents but can also surprise them with mixing up speeds,' Robinson said, adding that Hoang 'is a power baseliner.'
In doubles, Director and Golias are No. 1 for the Beavers, followed by juniors Kendall Jackson and Jaimie Waymire at No. 2, seniors Julie Sullivan and Hannah Delaney at No. 3, and senior Anna Berenbeym and junior Lisa Ding at No. 4.
'All of the top four teams are very competitive with each other and have a solid amount of experience in both high school and tournament tennis,'
Robinson said. 'If they continue to improve and challenge each other during practice, all of the teams will compete hard throughout the season.'
BEAVERTON - There's work yet to be done at Jesuit, but the Crusaders have every right to feel good about defending the Metro League and state titles they won a year ago.
While state champions Rika Mehndiratta (singles) and Clare Dodge (doubles) have graduated to college tennis, there's still plenty of firepower left at Jesuit for 2008, and high hopes of repeating their undefeated Metro campaign and state championship of a year ago.
Jesuit will be led by sophomore Megan Moore, the 2007 Metro singles champion and state runner-up. She'll be joined on the singles ladder by junior Steffanie Mortera (who teamed with Dodge to win the '07 Metro and state doubles titles), junior Sanji Rao, senior Kristine Leavens (once she returns from illness) and freshman Haley Krach.
'My singles players all have great all-around games,' said Jesuit coach Kirsten Ruchaber. 'They have steady groundstrokes and are not afraid to attack at the net. And I hope that Megan can defend her Metro League title.'
In doubles, Jesuit will call on seniors Ellen Mader and Kristen Wong at No. 1, junior Haley Mooney and senior Leslie Mallory at No. 2, sophomores Mary O'Donnell and Kayva Crawford at No. 3, and senior Jasmin Mitchell and soph Alice Erbling at No. 4.
'Our doubles teams all work very hard on their serve and volleys,' Ruchaber said. 'They are all fierce competitors and want to do as well as possible in the Metro League.'
BEAVERTON - There's nothing easy about competing in the Metro League, but Southridge sees brighter things ahead.
The Skyhawks have added two talented freshmen to their singles lineup, led by No. 1 singles player Audrey Farr, the fourth-ranked freshman in the Northwest and a player who could contend for the Metro League title immediately.
'Audrey goes to a lot of national tournaments and is nationally ranked,'
said Southridge coach Chuck Eidenschink. 'She could definitely be a contender for state.'
Senior Boonyapa Purt returns in the No. 2 singles spot, with sophomore Shweta Panditiao at No. 3 and freshman Reah Luzuriaga at No. 4.
Panditiao 'has very good potential,' Eidenschink said, adding that Luzuriaga 'is very athletically talented.'
Southridge will field senior Sylvia Kim and sophomore Sophia Chou as its top doubles team, followed by seniors Frances Lee and Joyce Yang at No. 2, sophomores Yassi Seyadhossini and Monica Rabii at No. 3, and freshmen Helen Lee and Ryoko Hamaguchi at No. 4 ('They both have some good talent,' Eidenschink said of his freshman fourth doubles team).
'What we have is a lot of potential, but they're not all the way there yet,' Eidenschink said. 'The Metro League is just so tough. Our goal is to get a singles player and doubles team out of district and into state this year.'
CEDAR MILL - With Jesuit set on top, the battle is for second in the Metro League and Sunset is well-equipped to hold on to the spot it tied for in 2007.
The Apollos return their top two singles players - junior Katie Lorish and senior Anna Becker - to head a lineup that Sunset coach Bryan Lurie figures to be stacked up better behind them in 2008.
'I think we're deeper than last year,' Lurie said. 'Our third and fourth doubles and singles know how to win points and are much better'
As are Lorish and Becker, who improved their games in the offseason and are 'focused on doing well as a team,' according to Lurie.
Lorish went to the state for the second time in 2007, losing a tough third-set tiebreaker to Beaverton's Krishnaveni Subbiah in the second round.
'She's gotten a lot stronger physically,' Lurie said. 'I'm definitely looking for her to take the next step.'
Lurie said Becker has also progressed and he 'could see her making state as well. I think it's possible.'
Juniors Madyson Zetterberg and Madeline Cook fill Sunset's No. 3 and 4 singles spots, respectively, after playing No. 4 doubles last year.
Sisters Catherine, a senior, and Connie Cai, a sophomore, head the Apollos' doubles lineup. Seniors Brooke Luallin and Hannah Neal move up from third doubles to fill the No. 2 slot. Four freshmen complete the varsity doubles spots with Lisa Cronk and Mariel Abbene currently playing No. 3 and Namitha Badu and Samantha Nelson at No. 4.
ROCK CREEK - The Wildcats are a close group, both on the court where little separates their top players and off it where Westview is very mindful of the team aspect.
That, and a near complete return of their lineup, has the Wildcats optimistic about 2008.
'This group of girls, more than any other, have completely bonded,' Westview coach Julie Ray said. 'Just the definition of a team.'
And one that returns No. 1 singles player Abi Sundaram, a senior, after a one-year break to focus on classwork in a term filled with AP courses.
'She's determined and has a little less pressure,' Ray said. 'Abi can be very consistent and has tough shots. She's a smart player and knows how to read her opponent's games.'
Junior Anusha Neelam, senior Rachel Hanna and sophomore Priyanka Vachhani also return at the No. 2 through 4 singles spots (in that order) after playing behind Emma Kitchen last year.
'I feel good about my singles this year,' Ray said. 'Anusha has good groundstrokes and a great return service. Rachel is much more consistent. I think she'll surprise a lot of people.'
With the addition of Sundaram, Kitchen will play No. 1 doubles with fellow senior Grace Jo.
'Emma is just as good a singles player as she is doubles,' Ray said. 'She's so versatile.'
Senior Tia Secasiu returns at No. 2 doubles and partners with junior Vivian Nguyen. Seniors Sasha Rector and Allison Strickland are at No. 3, while sophomore Varunika Bhargava and senior Tracy Anastas are No. 4.