Men’s tennis aims for NCAA crown

Men’s tennis, currently ranked third in NCAA Div. III, behind Emory in first and Kenyon in second, is looking to build this season on its third-place finish at last year’s national championship. The team’s ultimate goal is to win the NCAA tournament, although they will not focus on that until the end of the season.

The Ephs only graduated two seniors last year, leaving them with seven returning seniors to lead the team this season. The senior class consists of co-captains Charlie Hammond ’13 and Trey Meyer ’13, as well as Bryan Chow ’13, Felix Sun ’13, Dylan Page ’13, Thomas Daubert ’13 and Zach Weiss ’13. Returning juniors Matt Micheli ’14 and Adam Reich ’14 will also figure prominently this season. The Ephs will look to their upperclassmen to set an example for the large freshmen class made up of five rookies.

“Every senior will have an impact, whether on or off the court,” Head Coach Dan Greenberg ’08 said. “It’s such an amazing class because all seven have been dedicated since day one. They love the team, and that allows them to be great teammates and leaders, all in different ways.”

With an empty sophomore class going into the spring season, the rookies will seek to make a larger than usual impact on the courts. Howard Weiss ’16, Blake Mackall ’16, Alex Schidlovsky ’16, Brian Astrachan ’16 and Jose Raventos ’16 all look to help the Ephs on their national championship quest. The juniors and seniors assimilated the first-year class into the team with ease, building team chemistry that will only help the men succeed.

“The freshmen have assimilated really well,” Greenberg said. “They’ve had great examples in the juniors and seniors of how a team comes together.” The freshmen also bring a different element to the team, it seems: humor. “They’ve become best friends themselves, mostly based on how funny they are, and sometimes hard-working.”

Also new to the team is Assistant Coach Jeff Archer, who hails from North Carolina where he had his own successful tennis career. Greenberg recruited him, and he brings a lighthearted yet focused and intense element to practices that complements Greenberg’s style well.

Although the team is in a good position physically and competitively, there is still a lot of progress to be made before the season is up. The group’s early strength can be accredited to the strong upperclassmen leadership as well as the energy and focus of the entire rookie class.

Though the ultimate goal for the season is to win the NCAA Championship, that goal can only be reached through steady and consistent training and play all season. “Our goal this season is to try to do everything we can as well as we can – being prepared for practice, lifting and stretching consistently, maintaining our health, etc.,” Greenberg said. “I think if we can control those things and do them well day in and out, then we’ll have a shot at some success.”

The team will face tough NESCAC competition, as five other teams in the conference are ranked in the top 25. Bowdoin is ranked sixth, Middlebury is 14th, followed by Bates at 15th, Amherst at 19th and Trinity rounding it out at 24th. The team is currently working hard to prepare for its first match at Hamilton on Saturday at 1 p.m.,  followed by 10 matches in California over spring break later in March.