Men’s tennis (1-0, 1-0 in the NESCAC) enters the spring season with the goal of repeating last year’s NESCAC and NCAA Div. III National titles. However, this year’s squad will have a much different dynamic after losing seven seniors to graduation.
Currently ranked No. 1 in Div. III, the Ephs will look to thrive under a combination of senior leadership and young talent. Senior co-captains Matt Micheli ’14 and Adam Reich ’14 will take on guiding roles on a team otherwise composed exclusively of sophomores and first-years.
In the shortened fall season, Williams beat NESCAC rival Wesleyan 7-2 and competed in the ITA Regional Championships. The latter saw standout performances from the doubles team of Jose Raventos ’16 and Rohan Shastri ’17, who advanced to the semifinals and Conrad Harron ’17, who was runner-up after falling in the singles final.
“[Harron] in singles and [Raventos] and [Shastri] in doubles really stepped up and showed that they will be able to contribute in big ways this spring,” Reich said. “Throughout the fall we set the groundwork for the rest of the year in terms of team dynamic on and off the court.”
While the team only played in one match and one tournament last fall, compared to the 18 matches scheduled for the spring, it did practice and train extensively.
“Our fall season was especially short this year, competitively speaking, but we did have a lot of time to practice together and work on individuals’ games,” Head Coach Dan Greenberg ’08 said. Greenberg is currently in his fifth season at the helm of the program.
In terms of personnel, Reich and Micheli will play integral roles on the court. Greenberg will also look for big things from his sophomores. On last year’s championship squad, Brian Astrachan ’16 and Alex Schidlovsky ’16 played in the doubles lineup, while Howie Weiss ’16 was in the singles lineup. The men also return Raventos and Blake Mackall ’16 who will look to contribute as well. New
additions Shastri, Harron, and Alex White ’17 also expect to make an impact and help replace the seven graduated seniors.
“What this team needs most is match experience, so that’ll come with matches, but otherwise the goal is just to improve as much as we can, mostly in terms of intensity and focus,” Greenberg said. “We have to find the right doubles combinations, and then practice consistently with quality. I think we have a lot of
ability, but that won’t mean anything if we don’t push ourselves throughout the spring.”
This spring’s schedule starts with a non-league match against Colgate this Saturday followed by a trip to California for spring break. There, Williams will face No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in a much anticipated rematch of last year’s NCAA Div. III finals on March 27. The men will play seven matches out west before returning to the Northeast for their NESCAC matches, which kick off April 5 versus Tufts.
The team is confident it can use last year’s experience to get back to the Final Four for the fourth consecutive year.
“If we put the same amount of effort this season into learning and improving as we have done in the past, I have no doubt that we will be in contention for a national championship,” Reich said.