As most Williams students begin to pack up and head home for spring break, men’s tennis is gearing up for its annual two-week trip to the West Coast, where the team will kick off its spring campaign. The Ephs will compete in six matches in California and Texas against some of the top Div. III talent. Currently ranked ninth in the nation, the men will face off against five squads ranked in the top 25 in the latest national poll. The team performed well in limited fall action and will use that success and solid off-season work as a springboard for the upcoming spring season.
This fall, after soundly beating Vassar and Skidmore in easy 9-0 shutouts, five Ephs advanced to finals at the Dartmouth Shootout. Co-captain Dan Greenberg ’08 proved himself a strong competitor on the national scene by winning the Wilson/ITA New England Championship. He advanced to the ITA National Small College Championships, where he finished third in the nation. Greenberg, who played No. 1 singles his sophomore year and No. 2 singles last year, will most likely be seeing action at court one. His fall success will certainly provide momentum for not only his play, but also the entire team’s success.
Co-captain Gary Simonette ’08, Rick Devlin ’09, Karol Furmaga ’09, Bret Thacher ’09, Nick Lebedoff ’10 and Jeremy Weinberger ’10 all saw significant playing time in the fall and will be looked to for similar contributions this season. Rookies Ari Binder ’11 and Peter Huang ’11 will also add depth to the Ephs’ lineup.
David Donn, named interim head coach in late July 2007 after longtime Coach Dave Johnson retired, is ready to take the helm of the program. In his 20 seasons at the College, Johnson compiled a record of 252-62 (.803) and won three NCAA titles – 1999, 2001 and 2002. Under Johnson, the Ephs qualified for 13 NCAA tournaments out of a possible 14 and they advanced to at least the quarterfinal round in each of the last 11 years. Under Donn, the Ephs hope to win their thirteenth straight Little Three title and their first NESCAC title since 2003. After falling in the NESCAC finals to Middlebury and advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals last spring, this Ephs squad is hungry to further their success.
“I have a great feeling about the season,” said Simonette. “Everyone has worked really hard in the off-season and it has shown through our current play. We have a ton of experience this year and we have a great team. We have seen the competition in the NESCAC, as well as around the country, and feel that if we are focused and play well, we can make good things happen.”
Williams will start off spring play in California against Point Loma University on March 19.