Men’s tennis kick off 2011 season

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The men’s tennis team comes into the 2011 season with very high expectations. Just last season the team went 11-0, winning the GNAC handily. Having not lost a single match last season, one would expect the team’s confidence level to be extremely high.

In addition, they were once again tabbed as the preseason favorites, and began their season on March 26 with a 9-0 victory over Norwich University. Junior Chris Staley put the finishing touches on the win with a 7-6 tiebreak victory in the second singles slot for the team. Junior John Samander and freshman Hubert Cromback earned two victories in singles play, with senior Justin Ayou and sophomore Dachuan Zhu earning the other two victories.

To augment a great opening win for the team, the GNAC announced that two Rams earned weekly conference honors. Staley was named GNAC Player of the Week, after winning his singles and doubles matches in the opening match. Cromback also received recognition, having been named GNAC Rookie of the Week. The freshman also won his singles and doubles matches in the team’s win over Norwich.

Ultimately, this is a veteran-laden team (seven of the team’s 15 members are upper classmen) that will be competing in a tough conference. Last season, the team went unimpeded through the regular season and into the title game. Winning all 11 of their matches is no easy feat, and last season should be remembered as one of the team’s best. However, with a fresh slate of games comes a new challenge. If the first game is any indication, this team appears primed to make another run at the GNAC crown, and make the next step to the NCAA tournament, where they could compete against the best in the entire country.