Truckee girls tennis fall preview: Will he stay or will he go?
Sierra Sun-sports editor
Luckily for the Truckee girls tennis team, its 2004 non-league season opener at Carson on Aug. 31 was just a warm-up ” literally.
“It was so hot outside,” said second-year head coach Pat Kennedy. “It was 95 (degrees), and the wind was blowing. It was way hotter on the court.”
The Wolverines, who play in the High Desert League in the Northern 4A region, lost to the Sierra League school by a score of 30-15, but Kennedy was glad to see his girls make it out of the lower Nevada city alive.
“We weren’t used to that heat; it was very draining on the girls,” he said. “They were turning red. I was putting ice in my hat and putting it on their head when they got off the court.”
Truckee lost decidedly, but it was a tie-breaker doubles match that day that let Kennedy know he was coaching a resilient bunch. His daughter Brynn Kennedy and her doubles partner Andrea Cannon came back from a 6-5 deficit to win the match 8-6 in adverse conditions.
Brynn, who will play singles or doubles, and No. 1 Truckee singles player Andrea Roegiers will be the staple of the Wolverines squad. Experience has made Roegiers a quality tennis player, but it’s the senior’s seemingly effortless style of play that impresses coach Kennedy.
“She’s been playing a long time,” he said. “She makes it look like she’s not doing anything out there when she plays. She’s very relaxed.”
The way the game comes natural to Roegiers is the reason she hasn’t lost a match yet in 2004. Her closest match was a 7-5 decision over Incline’s Suzy Thompson on Sept. 2 ” one that Kennedy insisted she play at a time when Truckee didn’t need the points in a lopsided league contest that Truckee eventually won 30-15.
“I said, ‘You know what, you need to play that girl. You want to know where you’re at.’ (Roegiers) plays best when she’s challenged,” Kennedy said. Roegiers came back from a 4-0 deficit to defeat Thompson and help Truckee start the season 1-0 in the High Desert League.
For Truckee seniors like Brynn and Roegiers, this is their last season to make a run at a 4A state championship, something Truckee has never won. They join other seniors like Kristin Deeter (No. 2 singles), Kim Quesnel (doubles) and Emily Lawrence (doubles). Sophomores Andrea Cannon and Haley Adams and freshman Lauren Cowden have seen action at doubles thus far.
For the rest of the Truckee squad, coach Kennedy sees some players with a lot of work to do to get better.
“Most of the freshmen now, they’re learning for the future,” Kennedy said.
The future is something that concerns Kennedy and will ultimately lead to a tough decision for the two-year head coach. The familiar pattern of Truckee tennis coaches has been established on a parent/volunteer basis.
“It seems the way it goes with the coaches, is when their daughter graduates, or when the boy graduates, it’s ‘Sayonara,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy’s daughter will graduate this year, but he’s not so sure he’ll say goodbye to his head coaching duties.
“If you ask me now, I would say, ‘Yeah, I am (coming back next year),'” he said.
Kennedy is a professional chef at Squaw Creek Resort, but he was influenced by his daughter to start playing tennis again, something that was very routine for him about 20 years ago.
“I started hitting with Brynn again, and it’s like getting that spark back,” he said. “Until about 1986, I played about 300 days a year. I’ve been a recreational player 30-some years.”
Rediscovering tennis led Kennedy to accept the Truckee girls head coaching job in 2003, but it is not his first stint as a high school tennis coach. Kennedy was an assistant coach at the ripe age of 20 when he once lived in Springfield, Mass.
Kennedy also said that Northstar-at-Tahoe tennis pro Zeke Straw has stepped in this year and offered group lessons to Truckee team members on the weekends.
[Truckee is 1-2, (1-1 High Desert) after a 23-22 loss to Fallon on Sept. 7.]
Day Date Opponent Site Time/result
Tues. Aug. 31 Carson Carson (L, 30-15)
Thurs. Sept. 2 Incline Incline (W, 30-15)
Tues. Sept. 7 Fallon *Truckee (L, 23-22)
Thurs. Sept. 9 Spanish Springs Truckee 3 p.m.
Tues. Sept. 14 Damonte Ranch Truckee 3 p.m.
Thurs. Sept. 16 McQueen Truckee 3 p.m.
Tues. Sept. 21 Galena Galena 3 p.m.
Thurs. Sept. 23 Reed Reed 3 p.m.
Tues. Sept. 28 Manogue Manogue 3 p.m.
Oct. 9-16 4A regionals
Oct. 21-23 4A state championship
* home matches at Tahoe Donner Tennis Club