Since Pacheco's girls tennis program began the team has been short on experience.
New coach Jaclyn Silva is hoping the seven players that return from last year's team will make a difference and get the Panthers a few marks in the win column.
Silva played tennis for Los Banos High coach Lynn Barcellos, in junior high and high school, and graduated in 2000. As Pacheco's coach, she finds herself trying to remember the way Barcellos ran things back then.
"I don't quite remember practice I remember the challenge matches from practice, but there's been changes to the sport, so I'm trying to catch up on those changes," Silva said.
With a few challenge matches left to play, the singles lineup seems to be shaking out with the most experienced players Jacqueline Carranza in the No. 1 spot, Bianey Gaxiola at No. 2, and Vanessa Salazar, Perla Jimenez and Irian Islas rounding out the top five. Most of the rest are first-rime high school players, and Silva is working to get them evaluating themselves to make improvements.
"I can't coach them throughout the entire thing, I can only coach them when they switch sides (during a match), so they have to be able to self-evaluate," Silva said. "I myself, when I hit the ball, if it goes out, I can tell myself, Oh, I should have turned my racket. That goes with more experience playing. They can make those critiques better. These ladies who are new are going to have a harder time making those critiques because they're still working on ball-to-racket. The ones that are higher up can tweak themselves more."
One area Silva is a little inexperienced with is her doubles teams, since Silva avoided doubles as a player. But she knows what to expect when doubles players have to camp out at the net, and spent some time during a practice match hitting line drives toward her doubles players to give them an idea what to expect.
"I don't like depending on somebody else. I don't like being that close to the net," Silva said. "They're good at ducking. They did freeze a little. Just so they knew they could turn that racket to block their face, not just freeze and do nothing."
The Panthers went 0-12 in league play last year, with a handful of individual wins. Silva wants to toughen them up and get a few team wins.
"It's hard going up against Barcellos," Silva said, "because I know how experienced Barcellos is, so I'm not expecting to win big, but I would like to have some wins under our belt. Give the girls some confidence that they are capable players."
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at (209) 826-3831 ext. 6565 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org