It is new, yet with some of the same for the Fallon boys tennis team.
The Greenwave have a new duo leading the coaching charge in Jesse and Jessica Nuckolls after John and Julie Moore stepped down after last season. The Moores, though, are assisting their rookie counterparts.
“We have been learning a lot from them,” Jesse Nuckolls said.
As for the team, a youthful tone has been set, although the lack of varsity and postseason experience is noticeable. At least nine of the dozen or so players are freshmen and sophomores with “a couple” of seniors.
Nevertheless, Jesse Nuckolls’ will push his youngsters hard each day in practice in hopes of securing as many Northern Division I-A regional tournament bids as possible.
“It’s going to be a growing year for us,” he added. “The goal for us is to keep improving. As long as we are better than when we started out, I think I will have achieved my goal.”
Nuckolls, though, brings playing experience to the court after a competing for Hug High School during the 1990s. In addition, Jessica Nuckolls suited up for the Lady Wave during her career.
As for the current crop of prospects, Nuckolls is excited to watch their development and growth on the court.
Of course, losing a handful of regional and three state qualifier hurts, but Nuckolls said he will rely on competition-based philosophy and his returning veterans to bring along the team.
The first-year coach stressed the best player will suit up on match day. Through efforts in practice and challenging other players on the court for a singles or doubles spot.
Returning for Fallon, though, is senior Eric Sabatino and sophomore Myles Getto, who may end up being the No. 1 doubles team. Getto, meanwhile, is optimistic about this season.
“I thought it would be a little bit worse, but it’s better,” he said. “I think it’s our coaches. They are teaching the basics and finishing from there.”
But to compete for state berths, more powerful serves and shots are required. Getto said his backhand and serve have stepped up a level and is eager to test his newfound zip in the season opener on Tuesday against North Tahoe.
“I used to have a wimpy serve, lobbing 10 feet over the net,” he explained. “Now I can get it within a couple inches of the net. My backhand is right over the net and I can just drop it in. My goal is to go to state and hopefully take a title.”
The lineup, however, is for the taking as Nuckolls did not have a set group prior to the season. So, using his philosophy, each player has the opportunity to get on the court.
“We let them challenge each other for the spots,” he explained. “If you’re my No. 1 this week and lose, you’re not going to be the No. 1 guy. Doubles is interesting because you may have someone who is good at tennis and the other who is very athletic.”
Nuckolls said he may be able to protect several of his younger and more raw players on the doubles court. With a partner, it is easier to mask the flaws and take advantage of a player’s strengths opposed to singles, where every aspect of the game falls on one player.
“We will have our new guys playing doubles to get that experience,” he added.
The roster also includes returners senior Wei Deng and junior Thomas Jamieson. Sophomores Blake Malkcovich and Josh Mikulak are expected to partner in doubles action, while the rest of the lineup is open, Nuckolls said.