The Dodge City High School girls tennis team will rely largely on the energy and work ethic of its young players this season.
Both of those things the team has lots of. Experience, however, is something the team does not.
"This is pry the least amount of experience that we've had,” Red Demons head girls tennis coach David Snodgrass said.
The Red Demons return Jordyn Trombley and Victoria Garcia, both of whom played no. 2 doubles on the varsity team last year.
“They're the only ones that are coming back,” Snodgrass said.
They’ll be heavily relied on to help the younger kids come grow, he said.
It’s a young group, but also one with a its own strengths.
“We have a lot of girls that have shown they have a lot of energy. They want to come out and get better and so hopefully their work ethic will help them prolong and continue to strive to get better,” Snodgrass said. "It's not gonna happen overnight. It's gonna take a lot of hard work but I think we have the right type of ladies to do that."
For now, the Red Demons are working on fine-tuning swings and mastering the fundamentals he said. This is a team that will have to learn how to win despite possibly being outmatched talent-wise.
“If our talent level isn't as close as everyone else's, we're just gonna have to outwork 'em,” Snodgrass said. “Just our work ethic will have to be the best to give us a chance to be competitive."
Either Trombley or Garcia may move over singles play. The team has one foreign exchange student who will almost certainly be a singles player also.
Other than that, the singles area is totally wide open, Snodgrass said.
"In years past we have an idea when we come in who's a singles, who's a doubles,” Snodgrass said. It's wide open right now.”
While youth may be part of the team’s vulnerability, especially in a Western Athletic Conference where Snodgrass said the Red Demons lost more from last season than any other team, he also said he sees that youth as also the team’s greatest strength.
"We have three quarters of our team (that) are freshmen and sophomores,” Snodgrass said. “That's nice that we have that much youth in the program. Hopefully they take a lot of strides to continue to get better as the season goes on."
When he said he has the “right type of girls,” he said he means that in all aspects, including how coachable they are.
"They want to get better,” Snodgrass said. “That's one thing I've noticed from these girls: They want to please, they are coachable, they take what you're saying, they want to apply it. When you critique their swing and you want them to adjust certain things they listen to you. So they're very very coachable in that regard, and when you're young and inexperienced that's the best thing that you could have, is just to be coachable."
The Red Demons open their 2018 season with a round robin event at Great Bend Veteran Park at 3 p.m. Sept. 4.
They play at home at 3 p.m. Sept. 11.