Williams head men's tennis coach Dan Greenberg '08 is not likely to forget the 2013 season or the Class of 2013 any time soon. It will not be easy to forget a team that finished fourth, third, and then first at the NCAA Championships the last three years.
Of the eight Eph players who started in the 2013 NCAA championship match won by the Ephs 5-2 over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS), Greenberg will need to fill four spots lost to graduation.
None of last year's doubles tandems return intact.
Micheli is the lone returnee who played both singles and doubles versus CMS. Reich, who has battled injuries throughout his Eph career, brings experience and depth to the young team.
"Even though Adam has seen limited playing time, he's been integral to this team since freshmen year," stated Greenberg. "He cares about his teammates more than anything and understands how to make the most of every practice. He competes like a true Eph and will make a great captain."
The returnees filling five spots in the lineup from the 2013 NCAA title tilt last spring include senior Matt Micheli (singles/doubles) and a trio of sophomores in Brian Astrachan (doubles), Alex Schidlovsky (doubles), and Howie Weiss (singles).
As defending NESCAC and NCAA champions, Greenberg can expect to receive no sympathy from the rest of NCAA Division III, but he is fine with that—he likes this Eph team.
|Adam Reich '14|
"Even though we lost a huge part of last year's team, in terms of quality and quantity, our younger guys learned a ton and are looking forward to working together," Greenberg noted. "They have great character and won't easily forget what it takes to be at the top."
Matt Micheli is a top talent in both singles and doubles play, earning First Team All-NESCAC honors in singles and All-American honors in doubles in 2013, and he is expected to move to the top of both the singles and doubles ladders. Micheli teamed last fall with graduate Trey Meyer to win the ITA New England doubles crown and advance to the NCAA Division III Small College Championships, where they won the title.
Micheli will have a new doubles partner this fall with the graduation of both Trey Meyer and Felix Sun. Last year Micheli posted a glittering doubles record of 32-2 in playing with Sun in the spring (23-1) and Meyer in the fall (9-1).
Coming off a junior campaign that saw him also fashion a record of 18-6 in singles play, Micheli is primed to have a stellar senior season.
"Year after year, Matt has come up big when it counts," said Greenberg. "He's always honest about his game and what he needs to work on and it pays off. As a senior, he's going to be a great example of keeping things simple and doing what it takes to win big matches."
Brian Astrachan played at three doubles with the graduated Bryan Chow, posting a doubles mark of 24-4. In singles play, Astrachan compiled a record of 5-1 in limited action.
Sophomore Alex Schidlovsky was paired at number one doubles with graduated captain Trey Meyer, who twice won the National Small College NCAA DIII Doubles title. Together they earned All-American honors in 2013. Schidlovsky will be in the Ephs' doubles lineup, but may challenge for a berth in the singles ladder this season as well. Last year, he was 3-3 in limited singles action.
Howie Weiss gained most of his intercollegiate experience last season by competing in singles. Weiss was slotted in the number six singles position at the NCAA Championship match.
Weiss notched a singles record of 16-4.
"The entire sophomore class has great camaraderie, and they're also experienced," added Greenberg. "Three of them started on our national championship run as freshmen and were tough the entire time. I think that gives them a lot of confidence and hunger going into this year."
Greenberg has recruited two top freshmen in Conrad Harron (Chicago, IL) and Rohan Shastri (Williamstown, MA). Both Harron and Shastri are considered top talents who will push for a spot in the Eph lineup in both singles and doubles from day one.
"Harron has been a 5-star player throughout the juniors, competing with the best players in the country, and Shastri has developed into one of the best players, as well, with a huge serve and forehand'" Greenberg said. "What's most impressive is how much they love the game and how much they're willing to work to be as good as they can be."
Alex White (Williamstown, MA) is the third freshman on the squad. "Alex did our summer clinics, and I was impressed with his attitude and work ethic and think he'll be a great addition to our team," stated Greenberg.
As has been the case since Dan Greenberg took over the Eph program four years ago, the fall schedule is focused more on team development and polishing individual skills than engaging in competitive matches.
The 2013-14 campaign will begin with a dual match versus Wesleyan at home on September 21. The following weekend the Ephs will complete their fall competition by playing in the ITA New England Championships at Middlebury College September 27-29.
After those two consecutive competitive weekends, the Ephs will re-focus on their team and individual development as they head toward the highly competitive spring campaign and the defense of their NESCAC and NCAA titles.