TROY — As Mark Goldner enters more than half a century as Troy boys tennis coach, his passion for the game is still the same.
“Every season is different,” Goldner said about his 51st season as coach. “Every season is a new season. Every team is different. No two teams are alike.”
Goldner and his players are just excited to be back out on the courts after losing last spring season to COVID.
“That was so disappointing,” Goldner said. “We were going to have such a strong team. We graduated three really good players. But, at some point, you have to get over it and move on.”
This year’s varsity will be led by eight players.
The returning letterwinners include seniors Genki Masunaga and Noah George and junior Henry Johnston.
Also seeing playing time will be seniors Wyatt Hench, Matt Bess and Eli Monnin, sophomore Ohki Kato and freshman Aiden Miller.
Masunaga had an 8-2 record at third singles two years ago and George had a 9-1 record while playing first doubles.
Those two are battling it out for the first and second singles position.
Johnston had a 9-1 record at second doubles and is likely to move up to first doubles with Bess.
Hench could either be at third singles or playing doubles, while Monnin, Kato and Miller are all in the running to form a combination at second doubles.
“Those are our top eight guys,” Goldner said. “It is really hard to say until you get into matches how things are going to go. We are out there working every day to get better.”
As always, the goal will be to win the conference.
While this is the first year of MVL play for boys tennis, the opponents are pretty familiar.
“Winning the conference is always the first goal,” Goldner said. “Tippecanoe is pretty loaded and Greenville has a really good team. I know Sidney has a really good player. Some of the teams we didn’t get to see last year, so it is hard to say.”
Goldner looks forward to seeing how much his team improves this spring.
“That is one thing I always look at the end of the season,” he said. “To see how much the team has improved and gotten better.”
Something, that hasn’t changed for 51 years.