The South Central High School girls tennis team made a great deal of progress last year, and it didn’t go unnoticed, not even by other coaches, Timberwolves head coach Patricia Beck said.

"We even had a coach or two approach them and myself and telling them how much they had improved, so we're trying to build on that and help 'em gain some confidence and pick their game up to where they can be more competitive,” Beck said.

That’ll be the key focus for the team in 2018. Beck said a strong doubles team returns, as does a young lady who tried doubles last year but who will be trying singles this year as a junior.

“She'll be learning the game of singles and working on her confidence and her shot selection on getting her prepared to be competitive,” Beck said.

The other girls playing singles had some success last year on junior varsity, which hopefully gained her some confidence. Her game, Beck said, is a little “quirky,” but it worked for her last year. So did her determination.

"She's very effective and she's very determined and she wins games, and won well at the JV level,” Beck said. “She's gonna come along.”

Only five players are out for the Timberwolves, making them one of the smaller tennis teams. Competition for athletes is tough at schools like South Central, which Beck said only has about 90 students, but they’ll be competitive.

This will be Beck’s second year as head coach. After she talked to them last year, she said she knew confidence would be a key thing she’d need to work on.

"I came in and we did drills and I hit a lot of balls to 'em and they just gained some confidence and gained more of a skill selection on it and really could see their own improvement against good players,” Beck said. “They were able and felt like they were able to compete, and that did a lot for their mental game.”

She also has been working with them on the idea that to be successful and competitive, players can’t just be relying on the season to make them better.

"I'm telling 'em 'you've gotta play beyond practice if you want to keep lifting up your game,’” Beck said. “But again they have to choose to do that, so it's kind of in their court. I definitely think we'll see improvement."