Team pares turnout of 40 down to more manageable 25

Like the boys, the St. Helens High girls' tennis team will be much improved this season.

Fifth-year Coach Michael Gregor said he originally had 40 girls tryout for the team, but that number has weaned down to a much more manageable 25.

The squad lost just one player to graduation last year, Shelby Hart, and has 13-14 girls back with varsity experience.

Gregor said he expects the Lady Lions to be able to compete with everyone in the league with the exception of Sherwood and Wilsonville.

'Sherwood, defending conference champions are again the team to beat this season,' Gregor said. 'Wilsonville has great numbers and always shows good experience.'

'Talent-wise we did not match-up with Sherwood,' he noted after suffering a 6-2 loss on Friday. 'I expect we may not match up against Wilsonville either. After that I think we can hold our own against anyone in the league.'

The top two singles players this season are sophomore Madison Kaplan and senior Lauren Boles. Kaplan got the No. 1 nod for the first match, but Gregor said he expected the duo might trade off this season. Position is determined by match play against themselves on off nights.

'Both girls wore their opponents out in their matches,' Gregor noted. 'Conditioning paid off for both of them.'

Hailey Mann-Miller, a junior, is the No. 3 player on the team. She posted one of St. Helens two wins against Sherwood on Friday. JoCee Giroski, a sophomore, won the only other match against Sherwood, taking the match to three sets.

On the doubles side of things, Lexi Normine, a sophomore, and Hanna Opdahl, a junior, are the No. 1 doubles team. They had to take on the top team in the league on Friday-Courtney Mostul and Nancy Nguyen. The No. 2 team is Cassie Edwards, a senior, and Lauren Chambers, a sophomore.

Filling out the line-up are cousins Amanda Pardue, a sophomore, and Kaitlin Pardue, a senior, plus Thatika Pratuang and Bethany Allen, a senior. Allen was sick on Friday, so Jessica January, a junior, filled in.

'There were a few first match jitters that some of the girls needed to get out of their system,' Gregor added. 'Next time I expect them to come out strong and just play their games. Wilsonville and Rex Putnam are scheduled this week along with finding time to make up our first scheduled match against Milwaukie.'

Match results:

Sherwood 6,  St. Helens 2

Singles-Savannah Fellers def. Madison Kaplan (SH), 6-2, 6-2; Jessica Creger def. Lauren Boles, (SH) 6-1, 6-1; Hailey Mann-Miller (SH) def. Shea Menzel, 7-6, 6-0; JoCee Giroski (SH) def. Taylor Matthews 5-7, 6-4, 6-3

Doubles-Nancy Nguyen/ Courtney Mostul def. Lexi Normine/Hanna Opdahl (SH), 6-1, 6-2; Carley Milles/Kelsey Niebergall def. Cassie Edwards/Lauren Chambers (SH), 6-1, 6-2; Ezzie Chan/Elizabeth Curtiss def. Amanda Pardue/Kaitlin Pardue (SH), 6-3, 6-0; Keatley Pihl/Cambria Rooney def. Thatika Pratuang/Jessica January (SH), 6-1, 6-1.

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