Girls tennis has solid nucleus |

Girls tennis has solid nucleus

In the next two years, Carson High could be a strong force in girls tennis.

That’s the observation from new coach Diane Baker, who isn’t actually new at all. Baker returns to the program after an eight-year hiatus. She coached Carson’s girls tennis team for 17 years before stepping down in 1994.

Carson has plenty of underclassmen to lead the way, so Baker likes what she sees for the next couple of years.

“I can see us in the next year or two doing something,” she said.

The Senators have about 20 players out for the team. “We have great numbers and they really have the attitude to be out here,” Baker said.

Baker also said her team is showing improvement every day. “I’d say that 95 percent of the girls are very coachable,” she said.

Junior Natalie Rogers should be Carson’s No. 1 player and will be among five players who will be candidates for the three singles spots, Baker said. Sophomore Kelsey Joyce should be among the top three players, Baker said.

There’s also sophomore Michelle Van Epps and junior Staci Cobler.

“She just has a dynamite serve,” said Baker about Cobler. “I can use her in singles and doubles.”

Cobler and Van Epps won a 16 and under doubles tournament over the weekend in Reno. “I can use them both in singles and doubles,” Baker said.

Other candidates to round out the three doubles teams and the top nine players are senior Erica Eng, junior Janae Jeppson, senior Christine Atchin, junior Aaren Porteur and junior Katie Elverum.

Baker said Elverum could develop a powerful serve. “She’s a strong girl,” Baker said.

Others who contend for playing time are sophomores Emily Ortiz and Ila Bottoms.

“We have a few beginners coming around,” said Baker about her younger players. “They’re just working their hearts out.

“Some young ones have potential. They’ve got to get some mechanics.”

Among the areas Baker is working on is developing more aggressive doubles teams. “I’m really getting them to do a lot of net play,” she said.

Another area the team is working extensively on every day is serving, Baker said.

Carson will open the season next week against two of Northern Nevada’s strongest programs, Galena and Reno. Carson will host Galena on Tuesday and travel to Reno on Sept. 5. “Heckuva way to start your season,” Baker said.

Douglas has also been among Northern Nevada’s elite, but Baker said the Tigers have been hit hard by graduation.

“We might hold our own against Douglas,” Baker said. “I think we’ll give Douglas a run for their money.”

Baker said the goal is to make the Northern 4A playoffs this year.

“I think we have the potential to finish in the top three or four,” said Baker about the Sierra League. “Working hard we could probably do that.”

It’s also too early talk about individual players who could contend for the NIAA/U.S. Bank State Championships. Meanwhile, there’s still plenty of competition for who will be in the lineup.

“They’re fighting day by day on who’s going to get these spots,” Baker said. “It coud be interesting.”