Sports

Tennis gearing up for spring

By Tucker Hamlin ’17

March 6, 2014

Although the temperature remains below freezing and the snow piles continue to grow with no sign of spring in sight, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams are already gearing up for the spring portion of their season. The Continental tennis program, coming off a strong fall season, will look to continue that momentum in the upcoming spring season.

On the women’s side, six starters remain for the Continentals led by senior captains Meg Lee ’14 and Sara Shaughnessy ’14 under coach Rob Barr. Shaughnessy stated, “This is the best women’s tennis team Hamilton has seen in many years.” She added, “I have never played with a group as talented and motivated.” If these sentiments hold true, this team has potential to be one of the top teams in the NESCAC.

Coming off a nine-win season a year ago, the Continentals are bolstered by Shaughnessy, who had a team high 12 singles wins in the 2011-2012 season, and Bella Schoning ’16, who put together an incredible rookie season going 17-6. Other starters, Rachel Friedman ’15, Liz Detwiler ’15 and Mira Khanna ’15, look to help the Continentals with their winning ways.

The Continentals have a strong core of returning players, but the two first years, Winnie Tang and Claire Keyte will certainly make the women’s team stronger. As Shaughnessy articulated, “Both of them have so much to offer in terms of adding skill level in both singles and doubles, and also add positive personalities to our team.”

Coach Barr reiterated his captain’s praise of the team, commenting “This is the strongest women’s team in my tenure.The potential is there to do some amazing things this season, but we must stay focused and continue to improve.”

Over on the men’s side, the Continentals will look to build off their nine-win season last year. Lone senior and captain, Ben Swett ’14 is looking to help both returning players and new additions compete at a high level in the NESCAC, arguably one of the hardest DIII divisions in college tennis.

First-year Jon Cohen commented on the leadership displayed by the upperclassmen, “We have great leadership from Ben Swett ’14, James Oliver ’15 and Matt Billett ’15, who have helped all of the first-years with the transition into college tennis.”

The Continentals lost four seniors last year, but have five incoming first years who will look to excel on the court and contribute to the team’s off-court chemistry.

Ian Antonoff ’16 voiced his excitement and commented on the experience of the team, saying, “while we aren’t a traditionally built team with five freshman, two sophomores, two juniors and only one senior, I think that makes the younger class even more eager and excited to compete.” Ian continued, “I think our team is going into this spring season fired up and playing at a very high level of tennis.”

Last season the Continentals finished No. 18 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) standings, and although the team’s final ranking was impressive, the first years are looking to make their own statement for Hamilton Tennis. Jon Cohen ’17 expressed his eagerness to start matches in saying, “We are in a good position to have our first 10 win season in a long time.”

The men’s team is young, but what they lack in experience they make up in skill. Coach Barr expressed confidence in the assembled team by saying, “The men’s team added five talented first-years to the squad. We lost four starters last year, including two of Hamilton’s all-time winners, but everyone has worked incredibly hard to bridge the gap.”

From off-season training to late night practices, the men work hard every day to become better and it has not gone unnoticed by their coach, “I am amazed at their progress, work ethic, and maturity,” stated Coach Barr. “They are ready to step up and look forward to the challenge of the NESCAC.”

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams will look to have strong seasons building from recent success in years past under Coach Barr. The two squads are preparing for an action packed season and hope to make a strong statement in the NESCAC with competition beginning on the road against rivals Wesleyan and Bates this coming weekend.

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