Girls tennis: 5 players to watch

Emily Peterson

Jr. | Lake Stevens

Peterson earned extra motivation two years ago when coach Jeff Leer didn’t bring her up to the varsity, and she has been nothing short of outstanding since. Peterson didn’t lose a match at No. 3 singles a season ago, and Leer said he’s never seen a tennis player improve in one offseason as much as Peterson has over the past year.

“I have never seen drive like this kid has,” Leer said. “She wants to prove it to everyone with how hard she is working. Tennis is played on the court, but it is between the ears, and Emily is one of the toughest mental players I have seen in 25 years of coaching.”

Katri Shields

Jr. | Snohomish

Snohomish coach Dick Jansen has a deep team and said his top three singles players are essentially interchangeable, but Shields currently owns the Panthers’ No. 1 spot. She paired with teammate Kiana Akazawa last year for a doubles run to the state tournament and should have another fine season this spring.

“The best part about her is that she is a cerebral kid,” Jansen said. “She figures things out mentally. She has improved dramatically from her sophomore and freshman years. She has worked hard on her game and has come a long way.”

Maheen Jamshidpour

Sr. | Jackson

Jamshidpour takes over as Jackson’s No.1 singles player, and Timberwolves coach Judi Montgomery is excited to see what kind of season her senior can put together. Montgomery has seen vast improvements in Jamshidpour’s game, which is a nod to the work Jamshidpour put in during the offseason.

“Maheen is tenacious,” Montgomery said. “She has the ability to figure out her opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and then uses them to her advantage. She has solid strokes, an outstanding serve and she covers the court well.”

Marissa Johnson

Sr. | Glacier Peak

Johnson brings the Grizzlies a wealth of tennis experience. Not only is she the team’s senior captain, she also advanced to the state quarterfinals in 3A doubles a season ago. She is pairing up this spring with long-time friend and fellow state returner Issy Koehler, which could make for one of the strongest doubles teams in Wesco.

“She has always been consistent, mentally tough and has a high tennis IQ,” Glacier Peak coach Micah Perron said. “This year she has added more pace to her game and is playing with more aggression, and her drive to get back to state is at an all-time high.”

Nicole Ung

Jr. | Edmonds-Woodway

Ung has worked her way up from No. 4 singles her freshman year to serving as the Warriors’ No. 1 singles player this season. She already has shown she has the talent to compete with some of Snohomish County’s elite players and is one who could make a strong run during postseason play.

“She has a big forehand,” said Snohomish coach Dick Jansen, who recently watched her play during a match against his Panthers. “She hits the snot out of the forehand. She is essentially a baseline player, keeps the ball in play and works hard. That makes her a pretty good player.”

Andrew Lang, Herald writer

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