Ella Riddle and a group of strong freshmen lead the Lions this season

West Linn's girls tennis team returns its No. 1 singles player and will be propped up by a bumper crop of talented freshmen this year as the Lions look to be competitive with the top teams in the Three Rivers League.

Ella Riddle is back and positioned firmly at the top of the singles bracket for West Linn. The defending district champion went unbeaten in the TRL this year and is primed to be one of the top players in the state this season.

The Lions' singles line-up is loaded this year as the team also returns it's No. 2 player in Becca Cruz. Freshmen Ellen Rowan and Sophia McFadden round out the varsity singles roster which could be one of the deepest in the league.

“Our singles gives me goosebumps. These girls are so coachable and mentally strong,” coach Linn Beswick said.

In doubles, a pair of seniors will man the No. 1 spot for West Linn this year in Julia Casad and Sarah Chung and they will battle some tough competition this year.

At No. 2, Pria Basak will be paired with freshman Miranda Ounaphom while West Linn's Nos. 3 and 4 doubles teams are currently comprised of all freshmen.

Kate Whitehall and Sydney Wood man the No. 3 spot and Montgomery Lee-Todd and Talia Lichtenberg fill at No. 4.

It's a deep team that should give other squads in the league some difficult match-ups.

“This is certainly the most talent I've had in my three years,” Beswick said.

The Lions have also replenished the JV program and have 27 players at that level this season.

“We're really building the whole program back up and it's pretty exciting,” Beswick said.

While the weather hasn't been fully cooperative this year, the Lions are working hard when they can get on the court, focusing on their play at the net, conditioning and footwork.

“Tennis is all about mixing it up. It's not just about who can hit it hardest. We're also working in the lob a lot. It's not the most exciting thing, but it's a big part of the game,” Beswick said.

West Linn will open up league play next week against Oregon City.

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