The goal for the Carson High girls tennis team is always to raise its level of play every year.
But with a strong returning nucleus and a number of outstanding athletes coming into the program, second-year coach Linda Hixenbaugh also isn't shying away from setting result-oriented goals on the court as well.
"We want to make it to the final four," said Hixenbaugh about advancing to the Northern 4A semifinals.
Last year the Senators made it to the zone playoffs and Hixenbaugh wants the team to take it at least one step further. The pecking order figures not to change with Reno High and Galena again expected to be the top two teams.
But it should still be a daunting task for Carson to raise its position. Carson has exchanged Reno for Galena with the new league realignment. Reno is no longer in Carson's league, but Galena joins the Senators' league, which should be tough again with the likes of South Tahoe and Douglas as well.
And the Senators are still a building program under Hixenbaugh. "We're still pretty young," she said.
But Hixenbaugh also had 55 girls come out for the program and she will narrow that down to a 25-player roster before the season begins with a nonleague match against North Tahoe on Sept. 2 at the CHS courts.
"I've still got a large core group from last year in addition to new blood," Hixenbaugh said. "It looks like I've got a lot of good athletes that have come from other sports."
Carson returns five of its top players from last year. They include Tiffany Moore, who will play No. 1 singles.
The top two doubles teams also return in Elise Hansen and Hannah Dudley and Alyssa Cordo and Hannah Shaw. Hixenbaugh said the two teams were "neck and neck" as far as who the No. 1 doubles team was last year and it figures they'll be that close again this season.
Hixenbaugh has also set a lofty goal for all five of those players to advance to the NIAA 4A State Championships in singles and doubles.
Among the excellent athletes who have come out from other sports who figure to contribute are Alli Collier, Christina Gallegos and Ashley Saarem. Another player who could make an impact is Emma Kortmeier.
Hixenbaugh said she likes the work ethic of the team. "Most of the girls on the varsity have been playing throughout the summer," she said.
"They're excellent students, wonderful girls. I've got some excellent athletes. It should be a fun year."