The Garden City High School tennis team returns quite a bit of experience from a year ago, including three state qualifiers, going into 2019.

So coach Rod Robinson wanted to present a big challenge for his Buffaloes in their opening tournament of the season Friday at Maize South.

“They’re not used to a meet this strong this early in the year,” Robinson said, “so I think they got a little slap in the face of what it’s like to face great teams.”

Returning No. 1 singles player Huy Nguyen, who took fifth at state a year ago, managed just 2-2 on Friday at Maize South, an event that included annual powers Maize South, Olathe West, St. Thomas Aquinas, Buhler and other teams from the usually strong eastern side of the state.

“A lot of the other teams had already played in tournaments,” Robinson said.

The No. 1 doubles team of Will Keller and Daniel Darter, who took eighth at state a year ago, also went 2-2 Friday.

The new No. 2 doubles team of Nathan and Tyler Morren had the best day for the Buffs, going 3-1 and taking second in their division. Nathan Morren, who played singles a year ago, was 20-13 and was runner-up in the WAC to Nguyen. Tyler Morren, a senior, is new to the team.

No. 2 singles player Aaron Schaffer, who is also new to the varsity team, went 1-3 Friday.

“We’re playing teams that were in state last year, so this gave them the kind of experience they need to get better,” Robinson said.