2018 Spring Sports Previews: Molalla tennis
Head coach: Boys – Laurel Roses; Girls – Mike Clarke
2017 season recap: Boys – After a stellar regular season for doubles partners Logan Child and Alex Kutsev, the two fell short at the district tournament and did not qualify for state despite being one of the better duos in the league. Girls – The girls sent three players to the state tournament after solid performances at districts: seniors Rachel Norgren and Jessa Donaldson competed in doubles, while then-junior Mollie Lewandowski competed in singles at state.
Key returners: Boys – Logan Child, Eric Jones, Mason Simpson, Jackson Jones; Girls – Mollie Lewandowski, Mackenzie Raihala, Cassidy Burke, Jaden Beyer, Bryana Brinkman, Rayesa Efimov.
Season outlook: Boys – Molalla returns five seniors this season, including Logan Child, who played doubles with Alex Kutsev last season, but will be switching to singles this year. He's been working on the ball machine and is the Indians' greatest hope for a potential state qualifier, according to head coach Laurel Roses. Sophomore Eric Jones will be second singles, sophomore Noss Kutsev third, and senior Peter Mueller fourth.
"We have already had some challenges at doubles, and sophomores Mason Simpson and Jackson Jones have worked up to clinching the top doubles position," Roses said. "Their competitive spirit and natural athleticism will help them defeat other teams in the league who will think them weaker than they are."
"Senior Nathan Pederson is doubling with exchange student Ricki to be our solid second doubles, and seniors Nick Viol and Hayden Lowrie are third doubles. The challenge right now will be to put together a good fourth doubles team, and there are six young men working for that spot."
Girls – Molalla graduated a number of integral seniors, including Rachel Norgren, Juliann Jones, Kaitlyn Burke, Jessa Donaldson, and Carly Peeples. They may be hurting this season a bit as Jones was their number two singles player behind senior Mollie Lewandowsi, while Norgren and Donaldson were the number one doubles teams, making it to the state tournament. But they will return Lewandowski, who will be looking to make a repeat from last season and earn another trip back to the state tournament as the Indians' top singles player. The Indians will also return senior Mackenzie Raihala, juniors Cassidy Burke and Jaden Beyer, and seniors Bryana Brinkman and Rayesa Efimov, so they definitely have plenty of weapons in both the singles and doubles categories.
First meet: The boys open the season at Oregon Episcopal School on Wednesday, March 14 at 4 p.m., while the girls will host Oregon Episcopal School the same day at 4 p.m.