Rolla is preparing for the return of head coach Joe Schisler to the boys' team after taking a hiatus for a few seasons. Schisler rejoined the Rolla tennis community in the fall to coach the girls team and how he'll come back for his first spring season since 2011.
Coach Schisler is just excited to get back to coaching this group of players.
"This is a big eclectic team full of amazing kids. It is a pleasure that they call me coach, and I look forward to helping each of them grow as citizens, scholars, athletes, and men," said coach Schisler. "Coaching is humbling because I get to work with so much promise and see so many kids excelling even in hardship."
The team will be led by a group of seniors which includes Nick Roshan, Drew Jones, Haris Zahoor and Sam Wilsdorf. Roshan and Jones finished in third at Districts as a doubles team and will return as the top two singles players, as well. Underclassmen will include Pranal Madreia, Ethan Walker Blake Gibfried and Joel Schott.
"We have a nice blend of seniors with various playing styles," said coach Schisler. "The diversity of experience, playing styles, consistency, and growth should make us tough to play."
As of now, the singles lineup from one to six will be Roshan, Jones, Madria, Walker, Zahoor and Schott. As for doubles, Schisler likes to mix and match his doubles teams throughout the season so that everyone can play with anyone. He also stressed that his seventh and eight wrestlers can be brought into the fold at the varsity level, especially in doubles.
"We are not overpowering at all but very athletic and diverse," said coach Schisler. "Making the right decisions and being consistent is essential. I really like the level of competition within the team. It will be interesting to see how hard we compete outside the team."
When it comes to where his players need to improve, they all have areas to improve and that's what the season is all about.
"Each has his own demons so to speak, but I am a believer that tennis is a game of errors not winners. We will strive to find the balance between hitting consistently and aggressively," said coach Schisler. "To me this is where great tennis happens, a game of ebb and flow and self-control."
Coach Schisler doesn't want to set expectations for wins or anything like that. His expectations are that his players come in ready to improve and put in the work.
"My expectation is as it always has been. We will be enthusiastic, show effort, and display integrity," said coach Schisler. "We would love to win half our matches as a minimum and could do better than that. The boys are working really hard and very open to my ideas. I think as they implement the things I teach, we will see our success soar."
The Bulldogs kick off their season with a match against West Plains at home on Friday, Mar. 17.