When you play an outdoor sport at Sandy High School, chances are you are going to struggle to compete when you lack the facilities to practice during the rainy months. Girls tennis head coach Greg Thorson knows that his program has such a problem.

'We need eight courts that are covered so we can get the girls the most playing experience as possible,' Thorson said. 'This past summer we got 113 girls playing in the new Mount Hood Tennis Academy for girls, so that helps.'

Thorson returns for his fifth season as head coach of the Sandy girls tennis team, after coaching the boy's team for 12 years to a program that is constantly rebuilding. Thorson acknowledges the fact that Sandy cannot compete with the top teams in the conference this season.

'With Central Catholic, St. Mary's and Barlow the top teams, we are not ready to compete with them this season. We are getting better playing tennis and we are building great memories and we will bring respect back to tennis here.'

Last season, the Pioneers finished in the middle of the Mount Hood Conference, struggling all season finishing with a 1-4-2 record. This season, Thorson looks for continued improvement during another rebuilding season.

'This is a rebuilding year, we have no seniors and a lot of young players I am excited to watch grow as tennis players,' Thorson said. 'It is all about getting better at each match and having a formulative season.'

Sandy lost four starters and return Sarah Stuart and Karina Apa from last season. Throw in a large bunch of young tennis players to draw from and Thorson knows that he is building for a strong future.

'Our goal is to get much better playing tennis each week,' Thorson said. 'We are just hoping to become a better team and better people and we are going to try and bring some respect back to Sandy.'

Monique and Mercedes Krause will be playing No. 1 doubles this season and Thorson said their development have been incredible during the off-season. Josie Lilly, Sammi Deegan, Laura Menchaca and Mary Grassi add needed depth and throw in freshman Melena White and you can see Thorson's excitement for the future.

'This team is very close and they are working hard to improve during practice,' Thorson said. 'This is a great time for tennis at Sandy and with the formation of the summer programs, this programs is headed in the right direction.'

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