Portland Girls Tennis Preview 2018
The Portland girls tennis team looks to defend their league title this spring. The team finished 7-1-1 overall last year, while going 4-0-1 in league play. They finished tied for first in league duals, first in the league tournament, and first overall CAAC White.
Key returning players for the Raider include senior Sydney Schneider who was the 4S CAAC and regional champion. Senior Rebekah Ludema returns as team captain after finishing as CAAC champ, regional champ, and state semi-finalist last year at 2D. Sophomore Ainsley Ludema also finished as CAAC champ, regional champ, and state semi-finalist last year at 2D.
Junior Rachel VanHouten is another team captain and finished 2017 as CAAC champion, regional champion, and state finalist.
Juniors Riley Thelen and Sam Weber also return after finishing 2017 as CAAC champions, regional finalists, and state semi-finalists.
Coach Jim Niebling enters his 21st year leading the team. As for his outlook for the 2018 campaign, Niebling says, “We have great leadership from our Captains and we have good depth again, which is something we have to rely on to be successful. The top three teams from last year bring back roughly the same talent from last year, but there were coaching changes at both Williamston and LCC that make predicting outcomes a little more challenging. As always, if the girls work hard and we get a little luck along the way, good things can happen for this team. It’s tough being in one of the deepest leagues in the state!”