Roseburg High School’s tennis teams are heading to Portland this weekend to take on powerhouses Jesuit and Sunset.
The girls hope to prove they’re still relevant this year, while the boys are trying to figure out exactly where they stand and what they need to work on.
The Indians finished second in the Class 6A state tournament last season, but with most of the team returning they’re aiming for the top spot this season.
“I hope we can at least scare Jesuit,” senior Ally Sandfort said about the upcoming matches. “Just let them know we’re still here.”
“It’s such a competitive atmosphere,” RHS coach Jeremy Root said. “I would just like them to fare well and be happy with their accomplishments.”
Mackenzie Eichman will likely be the No. 1 singles player and Steffi Early and Sandfort will be teaming up in doubles, but not a lot else is known about the makeup of the team. Most players will be competing for a spot in the lineup and coach Root will decide on a weekly basis who plays in what slot.
“We have so many options,” Root said. “Because they had to work for it last year they got better.”
Mackenzie Eichman made it to the third place match in the state tournament last year, while her older sister, Samantha Eichman, advanced to the quarterfinals.
Sandfort is a team captain and the only senior who has competed at the state level. She said she hopes to win the Southwest Conference title again and see the team send even more players to the state tournament.
“I’d like my partner and I to go to state again and have fun,” she said. Early echoed that statement and added that Sandfort has been a “positive and loud” leader since becoming a team captain.
Early and Sandfort were eliminated in the second round of the state tourney.
“I just want them to be the best they can be,” coach Root said. “This is a happy team.”
Warren Bowden is taking over the Roseburg boys tennis team this year, although former coach Jeff Ball remains involved as the assistant coach.
“They’ve been playing together for a few years and they know each other and know what to expect,” Bowden said about his team. “It’s a great group.”
Bowden previously coached at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay and has coached at the Umpqua Valley Tennis Center.
“I’ve known him for year and think he’s a great addition to the team,” senior Ethan Smith said of Bowden. “As a coach he’s positive and outgoing and wants us to do the best we can. He really wants the best for us.”
Michael Bober and Robbie Clark will be the No. 1 doubles team. Smith is the top singles player for the Tribe.
Smith is hoping to win the district title again and go farther in the state tourney. He was eliminated in the second round of the tournament last season.
Bober and Isaac Beery made it to the quarterfinals last year, but Beery graduated.
Justin Leavens and Cooper Ray will be competing for the No. 2 singles spot.