WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Ephs men's tennis program is set to begin their season with a match at home against Vassar on September 16th. This will be one of two dual matches during the fall portion of the season, with the three day USTA/ITA's and a tournament held by MIT rounding out the remainder of the schedule.
Led by head coach Dan Greenberg, the Ephs hope to improve on last year's 13-4 season. "Last year was both a great year and a tough year," said Greenberg. After going 6-2 in conference, the Ephs did not make the NCAA tournament and the season ended with a 5-2 loss to Amherst in the first round of the NESCAC tournament hosted by Bates College. Despite a disappointing end, the season showed a marked improvement from the 12-10 season the year before, with just a .500 winning percentage in conference matches. "We beat up some very good teams along the way," commented Greenberg, "and I felt good about how we competed up and down the line." Greenberg hopes to be able to avoid the injuries that plagued last season, and improve doubles play. He believes this recipe will lead to greater success moving forward.
The fall season features a considerably shorter schedule than the spring portion, and provides an opportunity for teams to mix play action in with practice. "This fall we'll spend a lot of time on fundamentals," said Coach Greenberg, "I think one of the reasons we struggled at times last year was because we didn't trust in the basics and felt like we had to do too much. We have a lot of time to work on that this fall and hopefully then implement it in the two matches and two tournaments." Both matches will be at home for the Ephs, the first against Vassar on the 16th of September and the second on the 21st against Springfield. Williams will host the USTA/ITAs Regionals beginning on September 30th before heading to MIT on October 14th to end the season.
The fall season is also an important time as it will be the first few months of experience for the three freshmen. Benjamin Lebowitz, Ananth Raghavan, and Alex Taylor round out the 2020 class and will look to integrate themselves into the team. Greenberg understands, however, that the transition may not be perfectly smooth. "My main focus is for them to adjust academically and socially to Williams," he said. "I don't expect them, nor want them, playing their best tennis this fall; I'd rather see them settling in and learning as much as they can on and off the court, in and out of the classroom. If they can do that, they can expect to contribute a lot these next four years."
The rest of the roster includes four sophomores: Alexandre Gueganic, Deepak Indrakanti, Christian O'Conner, and Yuxin (Christopher) Wu. The junior class includes Brian Grodecki, Sachin Raghavan, Jordan Sadowsky, and Rehaan Vij. Seniors Rohan Shastri and Alex White complete the 13-man roster.
This roster will have the task of filling the shoes of five key players who graduated as the class of 2016. "We'll definitely miss the five graduates; they brought unbelievable energy to every match and practice," said Greenberg, also pointing out their academic prowess with four graduating Cum Laude and three elected to Phi Beta Kappa. "To me, excelling like they did academically and athletically truly embodies what it means to be a student-athlete here, and I hope that rubs off on the rest of the team."
Greenberg and the team look forward to the start of the fall season, hoping to build off the successes of last season and improve where they fell short. Their match against Vassar on the 16th will begin at 4:00PM EDT.