GIRLS TENNIS PREVIEW - Centennial's Ify Aniefuna returns as player to beat in singles
by: file photo Centennial junior Ify Aniefuna returns to the court as the favorite in singles play after winning the district crown last year. Aniefuna blanked her opponent in nine of the 22 sets she played during the 2011 league season.

The Gresham girls threw a wrench into the private-school dominance on the tennis courts last season, relying on a talented singles lineup to win the Mount Hood Conference title. This season, the Gophers won't be sneaking up on anyone, but return enough talent to be among the contenders once more.

Central Catholic and Saint Mary's remain the main threats to a Gresham repeat, while crosstown rival Barlow also brings a talented mix to the courts.

The league saw a measure of success at state last year, combining to go 5-2 (.714) in the elimination bracket, while crowning consolation champions in both singles and doubles play.

One major change to play this season is the league-wide vote to eliminate deuce-point scoring during the regular season - a decision that matches the format adopted by the other metro-area leagues in recent years. Now, when deuce is reached a sudden-death point will be played to decide the game. The receiving player gets choice in which court she would like to return-serve.

Capsules for each of the five East County schools appear in the March 21, edition of The Outlook.

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