Tigers will be tested early
Ron Mogab is entering his first year as the boys’ tennis coach at Douglas High. And his first two weeks have been anything but a stroll around the country club.
“We’re scrambling around trying to get everybody eligible,” Mogab said Wednesday afternoon, referring to the NIAA rule that requires athletes to complete 10 practice sessions in their sport before they are allowed to compete for a high school team. “With Monday’s practice, we’ll have nine players eligible and our first match is Tuesday.”
Nine players is the minimum a team can have for a match, which consists of three singles matches and three doubles matches.
Not much is settled with the Tigers lineup, but Mogab said he has two big questions answered. Brian Solomon will play the No. 1 singles position and Griff Sahlin and Jake Kallman will play together on the No. 1 doubles team.
Solomon played in several tournaments over the summer to tune up for his junior season at Douglas High.
“Brian is quick, consistent and he hits the ball with a lot of pace,” Mogab said. “And he has tremendous court sense.”
Kallman and Sahlin, both seniors, are tall players who play well together, according to Mogab.
“Griff has a number of years of experience. He’s a good volleyer and he likes to attack the net,” the coach said. “Jake complements Griff with outstanding groundstrokes, and he likes to attack.
“When they’re both at the net, they’re pretty imposing.”
Senior Steve McCleod and junior Bryan Bertucci will form another doubles squad at DHS this fall. Junior Landon Smallwood is a returning player who will team with sophomore Tim Johnston to give Douglas High three solid doubles teams.
Senior Robert Harris and juniors Mike Goldman and Chris Murray will all battle for the No. 2 and 3 singles spots.
The Tigers have been practicing twice a day for the last two weeks. Mogab said the morning sessions have been spent working on hitting specific shots. In the afternoon, the players work through drills designed to use the shot they learned that morning in a variety of situations, such as taking advantage of an opponent’s weakness or trying to set up an opponent for a putaway.
After the drills, the players play singles and doubles matches and try to use the shots they’ve learned in game situations, under game pressure.
“They’ve been working really hard,” Mogab said. “It’s amazing to me to see how fast they’re improving.”
The Tigers won’t have to wait long to see where they stand among the best 4A tennis teams in Northern Nevada. Douglas High opens the season with a road match at Sparks High on Tuesday. Then the Tigers play host to Reed High on Thursday and travel to play Galena High on Sept. 8.
“Traditionally, Reno and Galena have been the powerhouses on the boys side,” Mogab said. “We’re hoping to have a good showing against them. We’ll know right away where we stand. It’ll be a good marker for us. And it’ll give us the whole season to work on things we learn in those matches.”
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