They had the best season in program history, going undefeated in league and winning the regional title.
But nearly every starter graduated from last year’s Lady Wave tennis team, sending the program back to developing its roots for the 2017 edition under first-year coach Kristy Bekiares.
“The majority is new to the sport and getting everyone acclimated and determining positions for singles and doubles, and determining who the partners will be,” Bekiares said about the biggest challenge. “We hope to retain them for another year because we have a lot of juniors on the team.”
The cupboard wasn’t wiped clean from last year’s team; junior Jamie Bekiares and sophomores Ashby Trotter and Brooklyn Whitaker are returning. Bekiares is the team’s No. 1 singles player and won all three matches Tuesday against South Tahoe, while Whitaker and newcomer Brynlee Shults, a senior, are the No. 1 doubles team and went 2-1. Trotter returns as the No. 2 singles player and was winless on Tuesday.
Jamie Bekiares gives the team leadership and experience as she’s the oldest returner.
“She came from a legacy,” coach Bekiares said. “(Sisters) Kayla made it to state last year and Josie made it before her.”
Adding Shults to the roster only helps Fallon this year. The senior multisport athlete competed on last year’s state championship basketball team and was a top three jumper in last year’s state track meet.
“Tennis is new for her. She has an athletic background,” Bekaries said. “(Shults and Whitaker) are going to be a great pair to watch this season.”
Also on the team, competing in singles and doubles, are senior Abigail Ritts and juniors Bria Klein, Nicole Klein, Randy Manley and Selene Montes. Montes and Ritts played doubles in Tuesday’s match.
The goal for this year isn’t like last year’s group, which exceeded expectations in bringing home the school’s first-ever team championship. Consistent improvement and playing time will be key to helping Fallon during its rebuilding process.
“It’s going to take time,” Bekiares said. “Next year would be a more realistic goal (for state). This year is more rebuilding and just that growth in the season is promising.”
But that’s not to say Fallon won’t be in the postseason next month. Fallon’s No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles have a strong shot at the postseason, including making it to state.
““We have a lot of new people, so we’re just trying to get them caught up with the season,” Jamie Bekiares said. “We’re trying to get them to know the game. We’re hoping to do pretty good this year.”
The team’s trying to take a light-hearted and fun approach to this year during the growing pains.
“Because the majority is new, we’re trying to have fun, have a good time and make the sport something they can continue to do and make it something to encourage others to do,” coach Bekiares said. “We need to build the team and build the sport up again. Building the team and the skills, that’s where our team is at.”