The surprise is two fold.
First is how quickly the team gelled. Second is how the Fallon girls tennis team is rolling through the Northern Division I-A despite relative inexperience.
Many of the girls have only played for two or three years, but their growth under coaches John and Julie Moore has been rapid.
The Lady Wave improved to 5-1 in league play after North Tahoe forfeited on Thursday. Although Fallon has won two league matches by forfeit, the Lady Wave also have secured a pair of impressive wins against South Tahoe (on Tuesday) and Incline.
“I don’t know why,” Julie Moore said of the unexpected success. “We came into this season rebuilding. These girls have stepped up and were not rebuilding, we’re built. We have our foundation.”
The driving force behind the team’s success has been the play of its doubles teams.
Debra Beyer and Kali Strong, the No. 1 tandem, is 11-2 on the season and lost their only two matches in the win against South Tahoe.
The No. 2 duo of Jenna Spencer and Kayla Bekiares is 5-1, while the No. 3 pair of Melanie Nuckolls and Izzy Martinez sit at 8-1.
Nuckolls and Martinez are two of the young players as Nuckolls only has two years of tennis under her belt and Martinez one. The rise of the younger players is just another reason leading to Fallon’s strong start.
“The team is doing really good,” Strong said. “We didn’t expect to beat South Tahoe, but we did. We have faith in them and ourselves.”
Beyer is in her first season on the doubles court, while Strong is in her second season. The partnership, though, clicked immediately and the pair have ran through their opponents.
The two were paired by John Moore, won the match and continued their dominance. Beyer said it’s beneficial she and Strong are at the same skill level. The two rely on their chemistry to work the court, although they said their serves must improve.
An added bonus, is the respect between partners allows them to move past bad shots, celebrate the good ones and focus on the next point or opponent.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been aggravated at her,” Strong said.
“As we get more experience, it will get better,” Beyer added. “We have been working hard for it.”
Losing five seniors, who qualified for the state tournament last year, gave Moore the impression she was in for a rebuilding job this season. However, the girls have worked tirelessly in the offseason to improve.
The results have paid off with the Lady Wave’s only loss coming at the hands of Truckee. Fallon’s biggest victory came Tuesday when the Lady Wave slipped past South Tahoe in a tiebreaker, 9-9 (4-2) to notch their first win over the Vikings since Moore took over six years ago.
The closest Fallon has come to beating South Tahoe in Moore’s tenure was a 12-6 loss in the Northern DI-A regional team tournament last year.
This season, though, Fallon also rolled past Sparks, 16-2, and dropped Incline, 11-7.
“They are playing hard and kicking butt,” Moore said. “The girls who were freshmen last year are working hard to compensate for what we lost last year.”
On the singles side, the growing pains are there, but Moore likes the improvement.
No. 1 singles player Sarah Inglis is 6-6, while No. 2 player Haley Lindsay is 4-5 and Lindsay Golding, the No. 3, is 3-6.
Despite the records, Moore said her players are becoming more consistent and is looking forward to the second round of league play.
“The singles players are stepping up,” she added. “They may not be winning as many, but they are not losing by much. It’s close and they are good matches.”
As for the second half of the season, Moore and company are focused on their work ethic and improving before the regional tournament in October.
“We just have to keep hitting hard,” Moore said. “It’s going to be interesting because Truckee has to come to us. I think they are doing awesome.”