New DHS tennis coach starting with new players
The fact that De Soto doesn't have a clear-cut No. 1, or No. 2, or No. 3 singles player could prove to be a good thing for the Lady Wildcats tennis hopes.
"Everyone is on a level playing field this year," said coach Mike Sullivan about the competition between his players. "That's good in that it brings about a lot of competition."
It also supplies for some pretty good matches.
Returning letterwinner junior Kim Anderson had to out-duel Stacy Davis for the No. 1 slot, and barely came out on top with a 7-5 win.
"We used a round robin format to decide where we would put the girls," said Sullivan. "They (Anderson and Davis) each beat the other girls and battled each other well."
Having so many evenly matched players on the team has also allowed Sullivan to tinker a little bit.
"I get to toy with the lineups to see who plays well together," said Sullivan.
For De Soto to get the job done this year, it'll have to have some girls step it up a little bit.
Freshmen Jessica Cuba and Bianca Gonzalez will have to improve each week of the season as will a pair of junior varsity players from last season, Maria Gonzalez and Ashleigh Williams.
Coming into the season, Sullivan, a first year coach as is his assistant Rachel Curry, didn't know what to expect.
"I knew we had lost the bulk of last year's team," said Sullivan of DeSoto losing virtually the entire varsity due to graduation. "But I was impressed with their enthusiasm. They accept what I have to offer, and do a good job of rallying around each other.
Though he's not sure what to expect from the first meet, Sullivan said it will be a good measuring stick for his team.
"There probably won't be any individual champions or team scores kept," said Sullivan. "But we will get some competition under our belts."
According to Sullivan, De Soto's schedule should bode well for preparing the Lady Cats for regionals and state.
"We play the 3A and 4A schools that are more our size, but also get to go up against some of the 6A powerhouses," said Sullivan. "It will be good to see how we match up against those teams."
Sullivan, who would like to see more dual matches so teams could play each other and create some rivalries, would like to see each player come out of the season with a .500 record or better.
"I would like to see the improvement, that I've seen the first two weeks continue," said Sullivan on what he thought would be a successful season. "I'd also like to have a good showing at regionals, so we could see where we stack up against the other schools our size."