Carson boys tennis has strong nucleus |

Carson boys tennis has strong nucleus

Maybe the Carson High boys tennis team hasn’t quite reached the elite level in the Northern 4A.

But Carson has become more competitive with each year under coach Pat Houlihan and it looks like the Senators should be at least as good if not better than ever as they enter this season. While Carson lost several strong players from last season, it returns a strong nucleus of six seniors who should continue the program’s effort to rise among the ranks of the Northern 4A.

For the first time last season, Carson was competitive with Northern 4A power Reno High before dropping the match at Centennial Park. Carson also sustained a narrow loss at South Tahoe, forcing it to settle for third in the Sierra League and then went on to sustain another narrow loss to Manogue in the first round of the Northern 4A playoffs.

While the Senators expect to continue the similar competitiveness this year, there will be one major change. No longer will Carson have to travel for matches and practice at Centennial Park. The Senators have begun practice on their new courts at CHS and will be able to host their matches on the school’s eight courts this year. Houlihan is obviously thankful for the new courts.

Houlihan said the strength in last year’s team was doubles and he believes the strength in this year’s team will be singles. But that doesn’t mean the Senators won’t be strong in doubles as well, returning four senior doubles players from last year, including two players who have been in the program for four years, Bryt Lewis and Nick Smallman. Also returning are senior doubles players Chris Wear and Nathaniel Hamer.

Spencer Brinson, who was the No. 1 singles player last year as a freshman, returns.

“He’s a tournament player,” said Houlihan on how Brinson plays club tennis. But Houlihan noted that many of his players play in club tournaments during the summer.

Carson also received a boost with the return of senior Jeff Van Epps, who was in the program as a freshman and sophomore. Van Epps transferred back to Carson after attending Manogue last year.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do,” Houlihan said. “We’re just thrilled to have him.”

“Six pretty good players that have been a part of this team,” Houlihan said. “It looks good.”

Houlihan said as many as nine players can fill out the rest of the roster. Along with fielding a competitive team, Houlihan said one of his major goals is to have his players to make tennis a lifelong sport. “Hopefully we can get kids to come out and enjoy this fun game,” he said.