Even beyond the set and match scores, tennis is often a numbers game.
For head coach Mark Textor and the Wolves, that means 2021 will be a bit of a challenge.
During a preseason practice, Textor considered his team’s chances for success on the courts this fall — less than three months after the Wolves’ “2020” season ended, thanks to a series of COVID-fueled schedule changes.
“We have less numbers (turning out) than we’ve ever had,” Textor said, referring to the dozen players on the practice court.
“Every opponent is going to be bigger than us.”
That includes programs at Port Angeles, North Kitsap and Bremerton who each have 30-plus athletes vying for varsity sports, Textor said.
And, he noted, “the league is tougher this year with the addition of Bainbridge.”
It was Bainbridge’s Spartans who handed the Wolves one of their two losses last season (North Kitsap was the other), as Sequim surprised even their own coach with a 7-2 mark and a pair of top-five finishes at the Olympic League final.
While the Wolves may not have lots of depth, they are deep in individual talent. Leading the way is returning Olympic League singles champ Garrett Little, who didn’t lose a match in his freshman season (13-0).
Also back is Connor Bear, who came within a match of placing at the league final in singles and was 6-5 overall.
At No. 3 singles is returnee Koda Robinson, who went 5-2 in No. 3 and No. 4 doubles play last season.
“Doubles (teams) will all be new; we lost a couple of doubles players to graduation,” Textor said. That includes Dustan Koch, who teamed with Henry Hughes to place fifth at last season’s league tourney. Hughes and sophomore brother William are back, however, along with senior Jackson VanDeWege, who saw action at last year’s league tourney as a doubles player.
Three of Sequim’s rostered players this fall hadn’t picked up a racket before and will wind up playing varsity matches, Textor noted.
“They’re really coachable and we hope to compete with everybody,” he said. “(But) those are going to be huge challenges for us.”
The Wolves open at Bainbridge on Sept. 8 and a home match against Bremerton on Sept. 9. Sequim is at North Kitsap on Sept. 14 and hosts North Mason on Sept. 16. Matches start at 4 p.m.