New approach for Medical Lake tennis in 2014
There has been relatively little change over the years when it has come to coaching Medical Lake tennis.
It was first under the careful guidance of Leroy Lemaster for decades, and most recently the girls have had Dawn Eliassen leading that team since 1999.
Now, the most recent changes in coaching roles still have the program in familiar hands. Following the move of boys' coach Justin Blayne into an athletic administrator's role, the teams are now co-coached by Eliassen and longtime assistant coach Teresa Raby.
Raby, a 2003 ML alum, an Eliassen prodigy, Whitworth University grad and teacher, will focus on the boy's team. Eliassen is staying with the girls, but the two collaborate on the many aspects of coaching both.
"She's been coaching six years and I decided it was about time she stepped up," Eliassen said. "We're trying to work out who does what and who goes where, we've always shared the load."
Aside from the abilities she's shown as an assistant, Eliassen said Raby's recruiting abilities are a plus. As an assistant coach for basketball and volleyball -before becoming a mom in January-Raby provided a pipeline of players to the program.
The teams will approach the 2014 season from two different perspectives. The Cardinal girls enter the campaign as defending Northeast A League co-champions with Chewelah. The boys graduated their top players from a 3-2 finish in the NEA and will be rebuilding.
"We finished 7-1 last year and the girls want to keep that trophy in our school building," Eliassen said. "They don't want to share it; we had to share it this year, Chewelah having it for half the year and us for half the year."
The Medical Lake girls return six of their top eight from the 2013 team.
"We have one senior, otherwise it's all juniors," Eliassen said. "They are all real comfortable in varsity roles."
The girls also did a lot of work in the summer, Raby reminded. "And it showed," Eliassen said. "They're like different players."
Becky Nix is back in singles and she is a solid player, Eliassen said. Alyssa Fitzgerald is stepping into singles. "She is one who put in a lot of time preparing in the offseason; she is a very smart singles player."
Raby said Annika Gahan, a junior, is another singles player and also new to varsity competition.
The number one doubles team of Annette Carlson and Cassidy Hagel looks like they have a lot of potential their coaches explained. "They're electrifying," Raby said.
The No. 2 doubles group of Mary Lewan and Kate Houger are comfortable playing with each other Eliassen said. The two proved their abilities at the end of last season with success at district play, Eliassen said. "So we're got a good foundation with them already."
"The guys are rebuilding," Eliassen said.
They are led by Austin Brown, No. 1 singles. Isiah Farmen is No. 2 singles and John Pineda is in at No. 3.
Doubles groupings include Dakota Houger - the lone senior-pairing with Alex Netter at No. 1. New faces include Tyler Krivolavy and Brad Morris, a senior.
About half of the boys are new to varsity, some are returning but were not in top spots in 2013.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.