WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — It's been pretty easy for Williams College men's tennis coach Dan Greenberg '08 to put the national championship his squad won last May in the past.
"Because we graduated half our lineup, it's obvious to everyone that this is a new year," he noted. "I think for the returning players, they were able to see what's possible, but they also know that the only way to have a good year is to focus on improving as much as we can in the next two months, which means working hard and learning from every win and loss."
The Ephs open the spring season Saturday at Colgate in a match which begins at 3 p.m. In the fall, Williams played only one dual match, a 7-2 win over Wesleyan, and participated in the ITA national championships.
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.
The returnees filling five spots in the lineup from the 2013 NCAA title tilt last spring include senior Micheli (singles/doubles) and a trio of sophomores in Brian Astrachan (doubles), Alex Schidlovsky (doubles), and Howie Weiss (singles). Micheli earned First Team All-NESCAC honors in singles and All-American honors in doubles in 2013.
In the win over Wesleyan in September, Harron and Micheli teamed up at one doubles; Schidlovsky/Astrachan at two and Raventos/Shastri at three. All three teams were victorious that day. Raventos/Shastri advanced to the semifinals of the ITA Doubles Championships in the fall.
Harron played his way into the singles championship match but ultimately lost a three-setter.In singles play against Wesleyan, Micheli played one singles, Weiss two, Shastri three, Harron four, Astrachan five and Shidlovsky six. But Greenberg acknowledged that is not set in stone.
"The lineup is wide-open because we lost four singles and three doubles starters from last year," Greenberg said. "We have a lot of ability, but what we need is for guys to get experience by competing with each other and competing in matches. And then hopefully the lineup will become clearer."
After the Colgate match Saturday, the Ephs have 16 days off before a seven-match California swing over Spring Break begins March 24.
"I'm excited to see how much this group can grow," Greenberg said. "We have 2-3 really tough matches a week, so we'll need to be physically fit, and we'll definitely need to be mentally strong, so we can stay focused and keep figuring out how to get better."