Teeming with youth
The Truckee High girls tennis team, a 29-member squad filled mostly with underclassmen, has plenty of room to improve.
“Right now we’re building the team,” said Andrea Cannon, a returning sophomore. “This year we’re real young, but I think we’ll have a good chance at state when I’m a senior.”
As of now Cannon thinks “basic skills” highlight the team’s weakness, “but overall,” she said, “we have a lot of confidence and we’re a positive team.
“I don’t think we have huge weaknesses. It’s an individual sport, so the more you put into it the better you’re gonna be.”
First-year coach Jessica Putz also believes the team has potential, which will be unveiled only through patience and practice.
“We have a very young team,” Putz said. “Everybody is really new to tennis, so it’s just a matter of getting them out there and practicing.”
Putz had the girls practicing on the courts at Tahoe Donner two weeks ago, starting with two sessions a day.
“I just wanted to scare them a little bit. And they worked hard,” Putz said. “They have improved, like, 10-fold since. It just shows that by the time they’re juniors and seniors they’ll be a really good team.”
Although Putz said she and assistant coach Rick Deeter are treating this season as somewhat of a training year, the Wolverines proved capable of winning on Tuesday when they defeated 4A Carson.
“I think that boosted our confidence,” said Nicole Zissimos, one of four returning sophomores who Putz considers “above the rest” as far as match experience and ability at this point in the season. “I think we’re doing OK. We just need to concentrate more on our game. If we all stick to it we’ll have a good team.”
Lauren Cowden ” one of the four sophomores regarded highly by Putz, along with Cannon, Zissimos and Casey Haynes ” broke down the team’s potential.
“We have more of a team bond,” Cowden said, comparing this year’s bunch to last year’s more divided group of players, made up of mostly seniors and freshmen. “We all work together really well in practice and in games. We’re always cheering each other on.”
Casey Haynes credits Putz for steering the young team in the right direction.
“She’s a good coach because she’s trying to make us have goals,” Haynes said of Putz. “Last year we didn’t think about goals, we just thought about playing.”
Zissimos gave her coach props, as well.
“I think (Putz) is really good,” she said. “She has made the team a lot more organized. I think we’ve definitely improved because of her.”
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