Just four months after claiming their fourth Div. III Championship, men’s tennis is hard at work preparing for its fall season. The men open the season this Saturday with a home match against Wesleyan at 12 p.m.
The Ephs are eager to build upon last spring’s extraordinary season. The team was 23-3 last season and avenged its losses to Amherst and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps when it mattered most. After edging out the top-seeded Amherst squad to win the NESCAC title, the men progressed through the Div. III NCAA championships, defeating Claremont-Mudd-Scripps to earn the first title for men’s tennis since 2002.
The men have had to prepare for the season to come without seven graduating seniors, including Trey Meyer ’13, who advanced to the quarterfinals in last year’s Div. III NCAA Singles tournament. Other seniors who graduated include Bryan Chow ’13, Thomas Daubert ’13, Charles Hammond ’13, Dylan Page ’13, Felix Sun ’13 and Howard Weiss ’13.
Even with the loss of half of their team to graduation, the men that remain played a large part in the Ephs’ title run. Alex Schidlovsky ’16, Brian Astrachan ’16, Howie Weiss ’16 and co-captain Matt Micheli ’14 all played in the final, with Micheli and Schidlovsky both earning 2013 All-American recognition from the ITA for their remarkable doubles play.
“I think we can have a tough team [this year] if everyone realizes how much work it takes each year, and I think we can have a good year if we’re ready for the inevitable ups and downs of rebuilding,” Head Coach Dan Greenberg ’08 said.
Leading the squad this year are co-captains Adam Reich ’14 and Micheli, the only seniors on this year’s team. They bring experience to a young squad that has no juniors and will help provide guidance to the very young team.
“The team gained valuable experience last year at Nationals, and winning the NCAA [Div. III] Championship brought an understanding of the requisite work ethic for making a title run,” Reich said. “We do have a much younger team, but our expectations are high for the upcoming season.”
Making up the sophomore class is Astrachan, Blake Mackall ’16, Jose Raventos ’16, Schidlovsky and Howie Weiss. Several of the sophomores were key contributors during last year’s national championship run and will need to step up for the team to repeat as national champions.
To round out the team, local talents Rohan Shastri ’17 and Alex White ’17, both from Williamstown, along with Conrad Harron ’17, make up a promising rookie class for the Ephs.
“We are a young team, but we have a lot of experience, nonetheless,” Micheli said. “The freshmen and sophomores are extremely dedicated and really know how to work hard all the time.”
Greenberg is returning for his fifth year as the head coach of men’s tennis, after playing as a student-athlete at Williams. Greenberg’s phenomenal leadership earned him the title of Div. III NCAA National Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year. Assisting both the men’s and women’s team is first-year Assistant Coach Anik Capeda, who played Div. I tennis at William & Mary. Also volunteering for the men’s team is graduated senior Chow, who was part of the championship-winning lineup last spring.
After their season-opening match against Wesleyan, the men will compete in the USTA/ITA Regional Championships taking place at Middlebury from Sept. 27 to 29. These two events will serve as valuable experience for the team heading into the spring season, where the men are excited for the chance to defend their national championship.
“As a team, we are determined to put ourselves in a position to win the title, and we do that by staying focused on the next practice and the next match,” Reich said.