By Ben • Ben Schorzman • 

Mac girls tennis excited to start 2013

Well, the season is here, and Huston’s optimism isn’t any less. The Grizzlies were scheduled to play at 4 p.m. today at Dallas then at 4 p.m. today at Newberg.

“I’m really excited about this year,” Huston said. “Only one senior this year. Yes, the girls are young, but it’s a really fun experience. An entire lineup that will have the year to grow.”

The Grizzlies finished last year at the Pacific Conference district tournament with a couple of near misses, and with most of the results, Huston saw players who were coming back.

“Last year was a big learning experience for everyone,” Huston said.

Huston has been trying to build her program for a while, and the potential is there. Amanda Sullivan is the only senior, and Mac has six juniors on the varsity. There are seven sophomores and two freshmen as well.

“If we don’t finish in the top three,” Huston said, “it would be a disappointment.”

Last season, the Grizzlies were 7-7 in the Pacific Conference. In the offseason, Huston and Mac boys tennis coach Wes Gabrielsen started a Junior Team Tennis summer program, and the turnout from the girls team was big.

“That helped tremendously,” Huston said. “The improvement in the girls who participated in that has been great. They came back and hit in the fall too. The improvement was huge.”

One player who took full advantage of the summer experience was freshman Shay Bristow, Huston said.

“She is just an athlete,” Huston said. “She’s going to be good.”

Huston played around with her varsity lineup last year, and she said she will do some of the same last year. Sophomore Caitlan Baker will play No. 1 singles, but this year the Grizzlies won’t be as reliant on a few players, Huston said.

“This year we are much more deep 1-4,” she said. “Though, we’ll shift some people from singles to doubles and see what works.

The Grizzlies are also building their depth at the junior varsity level. Huston said there was such a large turnout turning tryouts that she ended up keeping 32 on the junior varsity. The next biggest team in the conference is Forest Grove with 20 then it drops off to 10

“We’re going our best to get some out of league matches for them,” Huston said.

“It was really great to see so many girls come out.”

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