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March 5, 2012

2012 Men's Tennis Season Outlook

The goal of every athlete and every team is to be better this year than they were the year before.

The 2010-11 Ephs finished the year at 17-9 overall and fourth in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, despite getting off to a slow start on their Spring Break tour of the West coast to open the spring slate.

Playing in the 2011 NCAA Tournament extended the Eph streak of NCAA Tournament appearance to 17 straight.

Anything short of an 18th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament will be viewed as a down season in the Purple Valley. The Ephs appear poised to contest for the Little Three, NESCAC, and NCAA titles with a battle-tested lineup.

Third year head coach Dan Greenberg tinkered with his top two doubles teams in the fall and both moves paid off in a big way. Greenberg paired juniors Bryan Chow and Trey Meyer at number one and had junior Felix Sun playing with sophomore Matt Micheli at number two, while senior captains Will Petrie and Kevin Shallcross competed at three.

In the semifinals of the USTA/ITAs Chow/Meyer knocked out the top-seeded Middlebury duo of Brantner Jones/Andrew Lebovitz 8-2, while unseeded Sun/Micheli beat the Middlebury tandem of Alec Parower/Derrick Angle 8-3, setting up an all-Eph final.

Meyer and Chow captured the regional title, a berth in the National Small College Tournament, and All-America honors by defeating Sun and Micheli 8-4.

Chow/Meyer then went on to win the National Small College NCAA Division III title before losing to the Division II champions from Valdosta State in the finals of the National Small College Super Bowl. They appeared in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd section in November.

In their first season as a doubles duo, Chow and Meyer racked up an impressive record of 11-1 against some of the top tandems in the nation in small college tennis circles. Sun and Micheli compiled a record of 6-4 in the fall.

Third doubles for the Ephs will be manned again this spring by senior captains Will Petrie and Kevin Shallcross who posted a record of 2-2 this past fall.

"I feel like we have three strong doubles teams this year," Greenberg noted. "In the past, we've had good teams on different days, but this year, each spot can really compete. They've had time to develop together, and each team believes they should win."

During the fall campaign the Ephs won both of their dual matches downing Wesleyan and MIT by the identical score of 8-1, posted strong showings at the USTA/ITA, and showed they have some depth by competing in the Dartmouth Shootout.

Juniors Felix Sun and Trey Meyer and sophomore Matt Micheli will once again top the Eph ladder in singles.

An All-American in singles play in 2011, Sun had his appearance in the NCAA Singles Tournament curtailed due to injury. At the fall 2011 USTA/ITAs, Sun advanced to the semifinal round of singles play, where he lost in two sets to his doubles partner Micheli.

Meyer notched two wins at the USTA/ITAs before losing to eventual champion Joey Fritz of Amherst, while Micheli collected four wins before falling to Fritz in the title tilt.

Junior Bryan Chow moved up to play four singles this past fall while classmate Zach Weiss was abroad in South Africa. Chow won his first two matches at the USTA/ITAs before losing in the quarterfinals.

Junior Dylan Page, unseeded at the USTA/ITAs, won his first match before falling to Middlebury's Brantner Jones, who was seeded 9-16.

Kevin Shallcross held down the sixth spot in the Eph singles lineup where he won both of his singles matches in the two dual matches the Ephs played this fall. Will Petrie advanced to the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA.

"I'm excited to get going again," stated Greenberg. "The guys got much stronger during the off-season and are really pushing each other in practice. We're going into the season fit and focused, and I'm sure we'll learn a lot from the matches ahead."

Greenberg's Ephs will open their spring season March 10th when they travel to Hamilton, NY to tangle with Division I Colgate University. The Ephs will next see action on the West coast during their five-match Spring Break swing through the Golden State where they will face Babson, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Redlands, UC Santa Cruz, and Cal Lutheran.

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