Tuscola girls tennis head coach Andrew Johnson is encouraged by what he’s seen from the Mountaineers in their first three matches. Despite the team’s 1-2 record, with losses to Enka and Pisgah sandwiched around a 5-4 win over North Henderson, Johnson believes he has the foundation for a competitive team.

The Mountaineers roster doesn’t have a lot of prior tennis experience, but what Johnson’s liked most so far in his first season as the team’s head coach is its compete level.

“Like I said earlier in the season, we’re definitely going to get outplayed a little bit, but so far, we’ve put up a fight. … I think the reason that we’ve got a game is I see every single one of my players, they’re hustling, they’re getting the points, they’re setting and they’re playing tennis.

“That’s something that we struggled with a little bit, making sure we’re getting that really good set posture, following through the motions and all that. But right now, that’s what we’ve got going on. I think if we can just keep that, get those fundamentals down, then the swings are already there and we can really make a good showing the rest of the season.”

So far, Tuscola’s standouts have included seniors Fiona Masciarelli, Emily Trogdon, Gabriell Belitsos and Sarah Clarke.

Johnson has also been impressed by a pair of sophomores, Cooper Richardson and Anneke Lam, who have managed to work their way into the starting rotation.

“All four of my seniors are playing great,” Johnson said “I just like watching them play out there. So we’ll see how my seniors can really clinch it. And then seeing how those two sophomores who are starting, which you don’t see a lot, having two sophomores be in your top six at the beginning of the season. So that’s what I like to see.”

As the Mountaineers start conference play next week, Johnson wants to continue to see that compete level from his team, along with a focus on the finer details of the game.

“I’ve seen what we can do in three games after this,” Johnson said. “... So you definitely know where you’ve got to work when you play some of these top teams. So just working on those finer details. How can we place it? How can we put it where they aren’t? How can we get our serves down and really pinpoint where we want to go with that?”

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