It's not uncommon for a program in transition to go through some growing pains in the first year.
But it's not likely that new Carson High girls basketball coach Todd Ackerman expected this. Just a few months ago, Ric Garcia was the girls basketball coach and there was talk that with the nucleus potentially coming back, the Senators could contend for an NIAA 4A State Tournament berth this season.
But Garcia stepped down and because of various reasons, Ackerman has just one player returning from last year's team in sophomore Gina Bianchi. Ackerman has just two players with varsity experience as senior Christy Works has also returned to join the team.
Works played on the varsity team as a sophomore, but didn't play last season. She's the only senior on the team. "Senior night should be quick," Ackerman said.
"I don't know why some of the kids didn't come out," said Ackerman when asked why many of the players from last year didn't return.
But the cupboard isn't exactly bear as Ackerman has many athletes he's familiar with. Virtually all of the players on the team have stood out in other sports on the varsity or lower levels and there are players, who while they don't have varsity experience, they do have experience in the program.
They include Works and Yvonne Hollett, both standouts in cross country and track. There's also Breanna Anderson, a standout in volleyball and Emily Field, a standout in soccer and track.
Rounding out the roster are Tiffany O'Day, Krista Mattice, Belen Munoz, Keandra Hudson, Natalie Morrow and freshman Elayna Shine.
Carson is also hoping to have Cassi Vondrak, a standout pitcher in softball. Vondrak sustained a knee injury last summer while playing softball. Ackerman said he'll find out more about Vondrak's status on December 7.
"We are definitely athletic," Ackerman said. "We don't have a lot of height. We do have some good quickness. That's what we'll have to take advantage of."
At 5-11, Morrow is the tallest player on the team. It could be point guard by committee as Mattice, Shine, Bianchi and Munoz could all see action at the point.
While Ackerman likes a full-court tempo style, he said until the team gains enough experience, it may have to play a more controlled tempo. But he did say the team will look to cause problems with its quickness on defense.
Ackerman said the goal is for the team to be hitting its stride after Christmas, but the schedule doesn't help.
Carson opens with traditional state power Centennial on Nov. 30 at Carson Middle School. The game has been moved to Carson Middle School because Morse Burley Gym will be used for the Capital City Duals wrestling event that weekend. Centennial lost just one player from last year's team that went 33-4.
The Senators also have to play their Sierra League opener against traditional power Reno High before Christmas.
"They work hard and trying to get better," said Ackerman about his team. "We have a long ways to go. The goal is to come out and get better every day. We're worried about just getting better."
Ackerman said if his team becomes better every day then it will be a successful season.
He did say he expects his team to make the Northern 4A playoffs. "I expect us to make zone," he said. "I expect us to be there.
Ackerman has plenty of coaching experience on the varsity and lower levels in boys and girls basketball. As the Lovelock varsity boys basketball coach, Ackerman posted a 102-70 record in seven seasons.
He took over a program that had won four games the previous season and eventually led Lovelock to the NIAA 2A State Tournament. He was twice named Northern 2A Coach of the Year.