Men’s tennis guns for Div. III NCAA bid in spring season

Men’s tennis has been eagerly anticipating the start of the spring season, after ending the 2010 season with a tough loss to Amherst in the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament. On Saturday the men will travel to Los Angeles for their opening match against Point Loma Nazarene, which will take place on Monday.

The team lost four seniors to graduation following last spring: two-time All-American Nick Lebedoff ’10, co-captain Jeremy Weinberger ’10 and four-year contributors Ben Kelley ’10 and Ben Davidson ’10. Lebedoff led the team from the first and second positions in singles and doubles and was named First Team All-NESCAC in 2010, while Weinberger anchored the third position in singles for the Ephs. Kelley and Davidson were integral contributors to the team that made it to the NESCAC finals in 2010. Together, these four seniors helped first-year Head Coach Dan Greenberg ’08 set the tone for a new style of play for Williams tennis.

“Last year’s class of seniors … brought great energy to the team and worked and competed extremely hard,” Greenberg said. “And most importantly, they taught the team how to do the same. They’ll be missed for sure, but thanks to them, I’m hoping the younger guys can now carry the torch.”

This season, the Ephs look to build on last year’s NCAA campaign. Rookies Matt Micheli ’14 and Adam Reich ’14 will contribute to this effort. Right-handed Micheli will likely play in a top position in both singles and doubles for the Ephs this season.
“Our freshmen have really been embraced by the team,” Greenberg said. “They’re a great addition of talent, but they’re also hard-working and hilarious and keep everything lively.”

Joining Micheli and Reich will be the team’s standout sophomore class. Felix Sun ’13, fresh off his runner-up finish in the USTA/ITA National Small College Div. III individual tournament this fall, is set to lead the Ephs this season. Bryan Chow ’13, Zach Weiss ’13, Trey Meyer ’13, Dylan Page ’13, Charlie Hammond ’13 and Jay Mehta ’13 are also key returners.

The team’s seasoned veterans, Kevin Shallcross ’12 and captain Will Petrie ’12, round out the squad. Shallcross will return from a fall semester in Spain prepared to contribute to the Ephs’ effort. Both he and Petrie will look to channel the leadership of last year’s senior class in order to help Greenberg harness the potential and talent of this year’s young team.

The Ephs’ focus remains on preparing for and winning a national championship this season. Before they can attain that goal, however, the men must battle through a challenging regular season. This spring will kick off with Monday’s match against Point Loma Nazarene. Williams will also face Pomona-Pitzer, Pacific University, Redlands, California Lutheran, Westmont, Santa Cruz and Sonoma State on its spring break trip to California before returning back to the Northeast. Upon their return from California, the men will promptly hit the road again for matches against Vassar and Amherst on April 9 and 10, respectively.

“The team’s main focus right now is to translate all their off-court and offseason training into tough match-play over spring break,” Greenberg said. “We have a lot of good matches coming up, so everyone’s looking forward to step up and start competing.”

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