La Cañada High boys' tennis Coach Will Moravec knows the upcoming spring season will look a lot different from last year, when the Spartans made a push to the CIF Southern Section Division II quarterfinals.
"We should still qualify for CIF [playoffs] — hopefully, but you never know, sometimes it's a growing year where guys have to learn to play in new spots," Moravec said.
Josh Kim, La Cañada's dominant singles player last year, will be called upon to lead the team in his sophomore year.
"Josh is going to be our star player, and hopefully we can build around him," Moravec said of Kim, who went 46-14 last year.
The Spartans won't have the luxury of a star doubles team to put alongside their ace, since Grayson Frazier and Trent Jones — the reigning All-Area Doubles Team of the Year — graduated last year. Moravec is hoping he may have a dominant duo in the making.
"Somebody might come to fruition, but Grayson and Trent played together for three years and that was key," Moravec said. "It helps if you play together for a long time, which was one of the reasons they were so good."
Frazier and Jones went 46-7 last year, advancing to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Individual Regionals. Michael Choi and Tyler Jones, two juniors, are La Cañada's only returning doubles team.
"Will [Choi and Tyler Jones] be as good as Grayson and Trent? I told them that should be their goal. They have big footsteps to fill, but it's attainable. Grayson and Trent took great pride in their doubles and worked on all of the little things, like poaching. That's what separates a good doubles team from two singles players playing together," said Moravec, adding that it'll take some experimenting to figure out who will fill the other two doubles slots.
Ryan Lee, a sophomore, will also be called upon to assume a bigger role on singles after Matt Faber told Moravec he won't be returning to the team, opting to play volleyball his senior year.
La Cañada went 14-6 (5-3 in Rio Hondo League) last season, taking third in league. The Spartans' crowning achievement came in the regular season when they defeated league-rival San Marino.
"We're not going to start out the season gangbusters, we're going to start out slow and build as the season goes on," Moravec said. "It's going to be a different year, not like last year when we beat San Marino for the first time."