By Rob Tetro
Fulton boys’ varsity tennis coach Matt Goodnaugh said admits that he expects the 2014 season to be somewhat of a rebuilding season.
The Red Raiders added many new players to the roster this season and aim to develop these newer players into contributors with the hope of being a .500 team by the end of the season.
The Red Raiders come into the season as a relatively inexperienced team. They will have many new players emerging into starting vacancies hit hard by graduation. Goodnaugh said he expects many of his younger players to be in starting spots at the bottom of the lineup.
Players have been encouraged throughout the school year to be physically prepared to fully participate once the first day of practice came around. Goodnaugh said many of his players were in solid physical condition when practices began in early March.
However, Goodnaugh said his players still have work to do in order to be where they want to be physically with the season just beginning. He said his team’s physical condition is about 75 percent of what he expects.
Goodnaugh also said his team will be challenged when it’s time for them to continue preparing outdoors. By the end of the season, Fulton hopes to be a team that is physically prepared to play three sets if needed.
Brad Crofoot and Jacob Strauss will serve as team captains for the Red Raiders this season. Goodnaugh points out that captains are voted upon by their teammates.
Fulton expects every event the team takes part in to be challenging.
Goodnaugh said there will be a couple of really experienced teams in the Red Raiders league that will be a step or two ahead of everyone else this season. However, there could be a significant amount of middle of the pack teams.
Fulton will also face a couple of lower tier league opponents. By season’s end, Goodnaugh hopes the Red Raiders will be in a position to play their middle of the pack league opponents competitively.
Fulton will take on a lower tier, higher tier and middle of the pack teams during the early portion of their season. Goodnaugh said these matches could set the tone for the remainder of the season.
Goodnaugh said his team will have many strengths this season. He expects his team to play as a unified and cohesive unit. Even though the Red Raiders may take a few lumps this season, Goodnaugh said his young team displays the characteristics needed to develop into a competitive team over the next few seasons.
He mentions that not only does his team have respect for one another, but they show him a lot of respect as well. They listen closely to his instruction, which already seems to have paid off for them.
As preparation for the season winds down, Goodnaugh is pleased with what his young team has been able to accomplish in practice so far.