With a senior-laden team, first-year coach Pat Houlihan has an experienced group heading into this season with the Carson High boys tennis team.
Seven seniors will lead this year's Senator team. "We have some good leadership," Houlihan said. "I think we have a good senior nucleus. It's a good senior group. These guys have got some experience."
But even though he has a strong senior group, that doesn't mean as practice has just started, his team doesn't have plenty of room to grow, Houlihan said. Houlihan said he likes the effort of his players and that they continue to steadily improve. Carson has strong numbers, with 16 players out for the team.
"They're all willing to learn," Houlihan said. "We're just working hard on drills, trying to get the kids ready to play. We're trying to get our mechanics down."
Houlihan said he's still looking at who his three singles players and his three doubles teams will be. Among the top players will be senior Josh Brekken, who could make some noise in Northern Nevada this year. "Josh Brekken will be a force," Houlihan said.
Carson's other seniors are Andrew Araza, Nick Weeks, Dylan Stone, Ed Jaquette, John McDonald and Tim Suchland. Junior Zach Caron, another returning player, gives Carson even more experience.
Houlihan said there are plenty of other candidates for cracking the top nine. "It's up for grabs," he said. "The other guys are working hard."
Among the other candidates to crack the top nine is Jeremy Grunert.
In singles, Houlihan said he's looking for the most consistent players, who are "learning to play with an idea of what to do with the ball."
Brekken, Araza, Stone and Weeks are among the candidates to play in singles, Houlihan said.
Houlihan hasn't set any specific goals like making the Northern 4A playoffs as a team or how many players could possibly contend for a spot in the NIAA/U.S. Bank State Championships.
"I think the obvious goal is to play well, to play as a team," Houlihan said. "The winning comes by executing the shot."
Carson will open the season next week against two traditional Northern Nevada powers. The Senators will play on Tuesday at Galena and then will host Reno on Thursday, Sept. 5.
"Those are the ones we have to play well against," said Houlihan about facing the better teams.
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