The South Whidbey tennis team lost the bulk of last year’s varsity team to graduation, so the Falcons will turn to new faces to compete this fall.
Only three players with varsity experience return.
Senior Brent de Wolf and junior Levi Buck, both with postseason experience, are back. Junior Joey Lane also saw some varsity action in 2017.
Coach Karyle Kramer said the concern over the team’s youth is balanced by its strengths.
“Overall the players have excellent attitudes and are coachable,” she said. “They listen and want to improve. They also seem to get along well. Many of them have good stroke foundations.”
Kramer’s goals for her team are “to create many opportunities for players to improve their tennis games, to develop new friendships and to understand how to better function in this world. Tennis skills, life skills — they go together.”
While the other South Whidbey fall teams will play in the newly formed North Sound Conference, the Falcons and Coupeville, the only North Sound schools with tennis teams, will compete in the powerful Emerald City League, home of numerous state champions.
“I’d rather have a tough league than an easy one,” Kramer said. “Players learn more, in general, when they are challenged. It also better prepares us for postseason.
“The Emerald City League has the toughest teams in the state — it’s always a good gauge of how strong we are statewide, depending on how we do in league.”
Kramer and assistant coach Bess Windecker-Nelson will be joined by new assistant Don Zisette, who replaces Nancy Ricketts, who resigned to spend more time with her family.
South Whidbey, 7-4 last year, begins the season when Coupeville, also 7-4, visits at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5.