The Carson High boys tennis program has established itself as a formidable force in the Northern 4A in recent years.
And the success of the program should continue this season under first-year coach Kevin Fallon, who returns to head up the program. Fallon was Carson's boys tennis coach from 1988-1990 and takes over for Pat Houlihan, who's now focusing on his vice principal duties. It was under Houlihan that the program made tremendous progress in recent years.
This year's club has seven returning seniors from a team that came close to a breakthrough season last year. Carson sustained 10-8 losses to Northern 4A power Reno High, South Tahoe and Manogue in the first round of the zone playoffs.
Due to the league realignment, Carson won't play Reno during the regular season this year, but has basically swapped Galena for the Huskies as the Grizzlies will now be in the Senators' league along with South Tahoe. Galena and Reno have been the top two Northern 4A teams year in and year out.
Fallon served as Carson's girls assistant coach last year under Linda Hixenbaugh and through that experience he said he got to know many of the players on the boys team.
Along with his experience seniors, Fallon said he has a strong group of younger players coming up and added many of them have been working on their games during the summer.
"I've seen a number of them out playing," Fallon said. "They've been playing regularly. There's a great deal of enthusiasm. It's really fun to see."
Fallon, though, said he's not setting any specific goals for this year's team. "It's really hard for me to set an outcome goal," he said. "What I would like the kids to do, I would like them to establish a team goal."
In addition, Fallon said he would like to see all of his players establish personal performance goals.
Among the returning seniors is Spencer Brinson, who has been Carson's No. 1 singles player ever since he stepped on the court as a freshman.
Fallon hasn't set his lineup, yet. "Nothing is establish thus far," he said. But it's a good bet that Brinson will again be Carson's No. 1 singles player.
A couple of points here or there and Brinson could have qualified for the NIAA 4A State Championships last year. He ended up losing in the quarterfinals in a close, three-set match.
The other returning seniors are Thomas Hollenbeck-Pringle, Jon Kane, Gordon Lee, Rick Ngyuen, Jordan Rogers and Tyler Simms.
All of those players will be candidates to play singles or doubles. Rogers and Simms are definitely candidates to play with each other in doubles as Fallon said they play well together.
"There's going to be a lot of stability on the team," Fallon said. "There will be a lot of good leadership. It looks to me to be a strong team.
"What I like with them is they're very bright, very enthusiastic and they're very hard working tennis players. I feel it's going to be a team with good depth. I feel we're going be strong in both singles and doubles."