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Gresham girls expected to challenge private schools

MHC GIRLS TENNIS PREVIEW - Returning district singles champ paces Gophers
by: David Ball, Reynolds senior Chelsea Roberts returns in the No. 1 singles spot for the Raiders this spring.

The private schools have dominated the tennis landscape over the last five years, but Gresham returns a veteran lineup that will try to challenge for the Mount Hood Conference girls trophy this spring.

'St. Mary's and Central Catholic are always tough, but I feel like we have a shot to be up there this year,' Gresham coach Alan Simpson said.

The Blues have won all four league titles since joining the conference in 2002-03, but St. Mary's may be vulnerable after graduating two state qualifiers from its singles lineup. The team's top threat this season appears to be the doubles team of juniors Killy Judge and Emily McClaran.

Central Catholic could make a charge for first place with senior Elizabeth Dhulst returning in singles, along with juniors Lauren DeGrandmont and Monica Kendall in doubles. All three players qualified for state last year.

Following are previews of the five local teams:

- GRESHAM -

The Gophers are expected to challenge for the league title behind their solid singles lineup. Heading up that group is defending district champion junior Kristine Hoang. She won five district matches last season - four of them in straight sets.

'Kristine has really improved her patience on the court, and she's not making those unforced errors by always going after that big winner,' Simpson said.

Gresham also returns veteran doubles teams in its top two slots with senior tandems Alix Franco and Hye Ji Kim along with Megan Heideman and Alyssa Emoto.

- BARLOW -

The Bruins graduated 10 seniors from last year's squad, meaning that the team is starting fresh with its varsity lineup this spring.

Junior Jenny Kim was one of the top junior varsity players last season, but will be called upon to fill the top singles spot on varsity this year. One of her first nonleague matches this year went into two tiebreakers and lasted almost three hours.

'We're extremely young, so this year will be about teaching fundamentals and building players,' Hunt said.

- D. DOUGLAS -

The Scots almost reached the .500 mark in league duals last season, but will rely on a much younger team on the courts this season.

'We were a very senior-based team last year,' Douglas coach Chad Reeves said. 'We don't have the firepower to overwhelm people, so we're going to have to find a way to win the close matches.'

Junior Stacy Chao fills the team's No. 1 singles spot after playing at No. 3 most of last year.

- REYNOLDS -

The Raiders managed just one dual win last year, but have their sights set on moving up in the standings with a veteran group this year. Seniors Samantha Tran and Chelsea Henley return to their spot at the top of the doubles lineup.

'They really pump each other up,' Raiders' coach Stephanie Shellum said. 'Chelsea is an aggressive player who does well at the net, and Samantha is a steady force in the backcourt.'

The Raiders also return their top singles player in senior Chelsea Roberts, who qualified for state as a sophomore but lost in the second round at district last year.

- CENTENNIAL -

Two-time state runner-up Yvette Ly missed most of the 2006 season due to injury and doesn't appear to be back in the lineup at least early this spring, as Centennial is 0-4 in nonleague meets and has been shutout twice.

A full preview was published in the Wedenesday, March 28, issue of The Outlook.