Bulldog netters scheduled to open the season on Monday.
The current top four singles players for the Rolla High School boys' tennis team all played for the Bulldogs' district champion and Missouri Class 2 Quarterfinalist boys' soccer squad last fall.
RHS tennis coach Cody Kennedy hopes some of that winning play rubs off into this spring.
The Bulldog boys' tennis team is slated to open the 2013 season on Monday, hosting Willow Springs in a dual meet at the Ber Juan Park tennis courts.
One thing is certain, the coach has more experience to lean on.
A year ago Kennedy was searching for experienced players to put in his lineup. That is not a problem this spring, as five varsity lettermen return from last year's squad, which finished 7-5 in dual-meet competition.
In all the Bulldogs' roster number this year is a healthy 20.
"We have more experience," Kennedy said. "Last year we were very inexperienced; we only had two who had played varsity. This year we've got five."
And Kennedy said the competition for varsity positions have been tight.
"From one through eight, especially in the top-six," he said of the competitive nature in practice. "All have played matches in practice that have had tie-breakers or one-point scores. They're all pretty even and I think we'll be pretty decent."
Junior Nathan Graham figures to come into the season-opener as the No. 1 singles player for the Bulldogs while junior Aidan Gelles is No. 2, senior Michael Janke No. 3, senior Sven Olberg No. 4, sophomore Jarod Rieth No. 5 and junior Park Nesbitt No. 6.
Close behind them in the pecking order are junior Patrick Beasley at No. 7 and junior Priyank Madria No. 8.
For Monday's dual meet the doubles combinations figure to be Graham-Rieth, Janke-Olberg and Gelles-Nesbitt.
"I think we're going to be a highly-skilled team," Kennedy said. "The kids have already developed some technique; they've moved on to some higher level stuff.
"Graham right now is the established No. 1 but that certainly could change. Our No. 2 and No. 3 guys have lost to Graham by the score of 6-4. It's pretty even all the way through."
Kennedy says when the Ozark Conference Tournament rolls around in May it will again be the Springfield schools to contend with for a possible championship.
"Glendale always puts out a strong team," he said. "And Kickapoo will be good. I feel we're good enough to be one of the top two or three teams this year. It should be really competitive."
March 18...Willow Springs, 4 p.m.
March 20...at Jefferson City, 4 p.m.
March 21...at Columbia Hickman, 4 p.m.
April 2...School of the Osage, 4:30 p.m.
April 3...Waynesville, 4 p.m.
April 8...Salem, 4 p.m.
April 10...Springfield Tourney, tba
April 15...West Plains, 4 p.m.
April 16...Houston, 4 p.m.
April 17...West Plains Tourney, 8 a.m.
April 19...Waynesville JV Tourney, 9 a.m.
April 20...Waynesville Varsity Tourney, 9 a.m.
April 22...Camdenton, 4:30 p.m.
April 25...at Jefferson City Helias, 5 p.m.
April 26...Springfield Kickapoo, 4 p.m.
April 29...at Lebanon, 4 p.m.
May 2...Ozark Conference Tourney, 8 a.m. at Springfield
May 6-10...Team District Tourney, tba
May 10...Individual District Tourney, tba