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Information Provided by Ronald Richardson, FLC Athletic Coordinator/Kinesiology Professor
Women’s Tennis: Falcons Hoping to Soar With Influx of Local Talent
After a 2015 season that concluded with a 6-9 overall record, the ever-improving FLC women’s tennis team is approaching the 2016 season as their “break out” year. The team has shown steady improvement since head coach Craig Perez took over after the 2013 season was cancelled due to lack of players. With four new freshmen in the top four spots, the 2016 team could be the best ever at FLC. Returnees from last year are Emma Lewis and Alex Tacuyan at number 5 and 6, respectively. Both have improved dramatically over last year after an intense summer and fall training program. The fact that they will play in the 5th and 6th slots speaks to the quality of players that coach Perez brought in. Playing #1 singles will be Hannah Crookham, a freshman from Oak Ridge HS in El Dorado Hills. Sophie Taber (Bella Vista HS) is slotted at #2 singles and partnering with Crookham on the #1 doubles pair. SistersAngelica and Ariell Frank, from Vista del Lago HS, will play in the 3rd and 4th singles spots and likely pair on the #2 doubles team. Behind Lewis and Tacuyan, the Falcons also have depth that has been lacking in the past.
The Falcons open the season with five home matches (weather permitting), beginning with Cabrillo on Friday (Jan 29) afternoon. The Big 8 Conference schedule begins on Feb 16 and continues through March. “I would expect Santa Rosa to be as tough as always, but Diablo Valley could be a sleeper,” noted Perez when asked about his predictions for the Big 8. “If we stay healthy, we could give teams a tough time. We are really a lot better.” The Falcons hope to finish in the top three in the final Big 8 standings, thus earning FLC’s first trip to the NorCal team playoffs.
Men’s Tennis: Another Falcon Team on the Rise
The FLC men’s tennis team may be barely recognizable in 2016, as they will look to improve on their 2015 record of 3-8. The lone returnee is Kevin Conley, last year’s #2 singles player who will likely land in the #6 or #7 spot in 2016. Also returning from the 2014 team and hoping to crack the top six is Bill Bagnas. Head coach Patrick Rutz is particularly excited about his #1 player, Sean Alves(Casa Roble HS), who is currently ranked #4 in Northern California. Alves initially went to St. Mary’s College (NCAA Div I) on an athletic scholarship, but decided that wasn’t for him and landed at FLC. Prajna Ta, a freshman from Folsom HS, will likely pair with Alves on the #1 doubles team. Max Hennessy (Del Oro HS, Loomis) is another one of coach Rutz’ three recruits who played #1 at their respective high schools. Hennessy will play in the 3rd or 4th singles spot and on the #2 doubles team. As for leadership, Rutz has named Conley and freshman Cisco Garcia as his team captains and looks for them to provide leadership, accountability, and focus.
The men will open with four home matches (again, weather permitting) starting with Cabrillo on Friday before heading to Modesto on President’s Weekend for a tournament. American River once again appears to be the favorite to win the Big 8 championship, but the Falcons look ready to make an impact. As with the women, a top 3 finish in conference will put the team in the Norther California playoffs for the first time in school history.
2016 Home Tennis Schedule all matches begin at 1:00 pm
Fri Jan 29 Cabrillo
Tues Feb 2 Chabot
Wed Feb 3 Reedley
Tues Feb 9 Cosumnes River (women)
Fri Feb 12 Sequoias (women)
Tues Mar 1 American River
Fri Mar 4 Sierra (women)/Solano (men)
Tues Mar 8 Santa Rosa
Tues Mar 15 Shasta
Tues Mar 22 Diablo Valley
FLC Main: FR-108