The Southern Athletic League competitors Denair and Delhi are hoping to swing into a successful co-ed tennis season. Although each side saw a multitude of success last season, both head coaches are hopeful that they can finish in the top two for the new season, especially since last year's power in Ripon Christian lost many of its top players.
“I am hoping all these kids can contribute for us,” said Delhi head coach Felipe Espino. “We got third last year, since we switched league, last year was one of our worst years, our players are great but it’s just the mindset to keep working on it and that is our goal this year, to get mentally tougher.”
"We know RC is good but I am sure they lost some players,” said Denair head coach Bill Weber. “I know we have many new players this year so the biggest thing is me putting my 40-plus years of experience into these kids' game in a few days or weeks.”
Denair finished second in the SAL last year with a 12-3 record.
Assisting this year's team on the girls side will be Krystal Fuentes, Holly Collins and Wanda Elliott.
“We have great kids who are willing to learn and take instructions,” said Weber. “Some of the kids are nervous because they fear the unknown. You can hear communication and those kids are trying to improve, not out here wasting time.”
Weber will only return five players from a year ago but the team is already boasting a bigger roster than they did last season.
Helping the boys’ side will be Robert Williams and Carson Haringa, who should provide the team with the top two singles spots.
Also look for freshman Trent Hulbert to make some moves during the season and challenge his teammates.
“Trent might be top three and we do have more players than last year, which is a pleasant surprise and a good thing,” said Weber. “I believe we will go out and do the best we can with the skills we've got now and we will continue to work and build and take care of business, which is our same motto.
“You never know how we will do until after our first meet,” Weber added.
Delhi, who finished just below Denair in the standings last season, return with a herd of talent and a large number of players from both sides, especially on the boys side.
Robert Gonzalez and George Carrillo should provide the team with a top two duo in boys singles.
“The boys, they all know there would be stiff competition all year but still right now they are playing against each other to improve,” said Espino. “We are so solid with the boys on doubles and singles; it will make our doubles team tougher but the girls sides we just need to make sure the rest are on the same page as my top four.”
For the girls, Jessica Juarez, Adriana Gonzalez and Clarissa Meza should be some of the top competitors as well as Samantha Muñoz.
“Our girls’ team, they have the skill set but the mind game they are still working on it,” said Espino. “Although I think our top two girls should get some solid victories for us as well.”
The first match for Delhi will be at home against Ripon Christian at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Denair's first match will be on the road against Waterford at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.