It's always been the case in the past that the Reno High boys tennis team could just step on the court and know it would win against Carson with no trouble at all. Those days appear to be over.
While the Northern 4A power did beat Carson 12-6 on Thursday at Centennial Park, the contest was much closer than that with four matches going to a tiebreaker. Reno, though, won three of the four tiebreakers.
The difference of the match came in singles. While Carson won 6 of 9 doubles matches, Reno swept all nine singles matches.
"The biggest thing is our singles couldn't hold up," Carson coach Pat Houlihan said. "We're not there in singles, but we're challenging now.
"I think we're starting to see what the program is starting to do. I'm very proud of our kids. Their tradition is tough. Their singles are tough."
Houlihan said if his team wants to continue to improve to the point where it can compete on an even basis with Reno, his players will have to continue to play in club tournaments. "We've got to get our kids to play tournaments," he said.
Carson may receive another shot at Reno as soon as the Northern 3A playoffs. If the Senators can beat North Tahoe and Douglas next week, they would finish third in the Sierra League.
A win in the first round of the playoffs would virtually assure a rematch with Reno in the Northern 4A semifinals. "Wouldn't that be nice," Houlihan said. "We'll see what happens."
Josh Caron and Bryt Lewis led Carson in doubles, sweeping 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. Carson's near misses came in doubles where Adam Houghton and Nathaniel Hamer lost 8-10 in a tiebreaker, Nick Smallman and Chris Wear lost 6-7 (4-7) and in singles where Spencer Brinson built a 5-2 lead in one of his matches, but couldn't hold on in a 6-7 (2-7) loss.
The Senators' only other chance to win in singles came when Evan Thayer had a 3-2 lead, but eventually lost 4-6. Wear and Smallman did win their other tiebreaker 7-2 and also won 6-1. In addition, Houghton and Hamer won 6-1.
RENO 16, CARSON GIRLS 2
Carson had its share of highlights against the Northern 4A power with Lisa Midboe coming away with both wins for the Senators in singles. Midboe was ahead 4-2 when her opponent had to retire and she also won 6-3. Jenni Hood also played well in a 4-6 loss in singles.
Others who played well included Elizabeth Gohr in singles and Amanda Gohr and Kristen Charles and Kristi Philippi and Hilary Schlager in doubles.