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Liberty girls hoping increased turnout leads to improvement

Falcons hope to contend in the conference despite losing their top player from 2012


If numbers can translate into results, the Liberty girls tennis team should have a pretty successful season in 2013.

A year ago, turnout for the girls team was in the mid-20s, Liberty coach Dan Snyder said. This season, a few days before the Falcons’ first match, the ranks had swelled to more than 30 players, with freshmen and sophomores accounting for most of the roster.

“I feel very fortunate this year to have the depth,” Snyder said. “Still, we’re not going to compete with Sherwood and Wilsonville. Last year we were better than Milwaukie and we were better than Putnam and we were dead even with Parkrose.

“This year, we set our sights on St. Helens and Sandy because they were that next tier. That’s who we’re going after this year.”

In 2012, Liberty had a centerpiece player in Ayaka Terakawa, who was the top-seeded singles player in the Class 5A state tournament. She lost in the semifinal round at state but rebounded to win the third-place match and match her finish at the 2011 state tournament.

Terakawa graduated last spring, and before match play started for the season, Snyder said any one of eight girls could play in the top spot.

Marisa Nichols is the player who has stepped into the No. 1 singles spot in the early going. Minji Ha and Kayla David are back out for the squad as seniors and provide experience on a youthful roster. David played at Century in 2012, Snyder said, while Ha played her first two years at Liberty before choosing not to participate as a junior.

Ha has been playing second doubles with Lauren Nguyen, who was completely new to tennis last year but is now a team captain. David has been playing No. 2 singles behind Nichols.

In doubles, Maggie Hamilton and Kirklynn Russell return after a 2012 season in which they made up Liberty’s top tandem despite both being freshmen beginners.

“This year they’ll win some matches,” Snyder said. “Last year they got killed all the time. They’re tall, athletic.”

Liberty’s No. 3 and 4 singles players, Amanda Ganete and Quinn Dudeck, also are captains, as is Stefanie Marecek.

The Falcons got off to a solid start last week in their first matches, breezing to easy wins against Hillsboro and Putnam in their Northwest Oregon Conference opener.

The squad was scheduled to take on Sherwood on the road on Wednesday and Sandy at home on Thursday this week and will travel to St. Helens next Tuesday.



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