MEN’S TENNIS | Elis look to build on last year’s success

The Elis face a difficult slate of tournaments the next two months, including the USTA Regional Championships and the USTA National Collegiate Indoor Championships.
The Elis face a difficult slate of tournaments the next two months, including the USTA Regional Championships and the USTA National Collegiate Indoor Championships. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

A year removed from its second-highest national ranking in 33 years, the men’s tennis team is looking toward the 2013-’14 campaign as an opportunity to rebuild — and continue to win.

Last season, four senior starters — Marc Powers ’13, John Huang ’13, Daniel Hoffman ’13 and Zachary Dean ’13 — led the team to an NCAA ranking of No. 57 and a fourth-place finish in the competitive Ivy League, marking a benchmark year for the program and for the school.

“With four seniors in last year’s starting lineup, this will be a rebuilding year. All of the returning players recognize the opportunity to play higher in the lineup and the extra work that it will take to succeed at that level,” head coach Alex Dorato said.

The Elis will travel to Princeton this coming weekend to kick off the season at the Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational. Looking to make an immediate impact will be the two freshman recruits, Tyler Lu ’17 from Irvine, Calif., and Photos Photiades ’17, a native Cypriot. Lu enters his freshman year as a blue chip recruit, one of the top 25 players in his age bracket nationally. Photiades too has an extensive resumé of success on the court, having won the Cyprus U-18 National Championships at just 15 years old. Photiades has also benefitted from international exposure on the Cyprus Davis Cup Team alongside players such as Marcos Baghdatis, a former world top-10 player.

Captain Kyle Dawson ’14 has high hopes for the incoming class.

“To be honest, I think the team has already adjusted to losing the seniors. I think the two freshmen, Tyler and Photos, will have a huge impact this year,” Dawson said. “They both expect to contribute immediately, and that will be key for the team’s success.”

In addition to the two recruits, the team also accepted two walk-ons onto the varsity roster, James Ratchford ’17 and Alex Hagermoser ’17.

“Ratchford and Hagermoser proved in tryouts that they are more than capable of making a positive impact on the team’s success,” Dawson said.

The four freshmen are competing for spots in the starting line-up as the team prepares for a busy fall schedule. The Bulldogs face a demanding slate of tournaments from September through November, including the USTA Regional Championships from Oct. 17-27 and the USTA National Collegiate Indoor Championships at Flushing Meadows, N.Y, from Nov. 7-10. The team will then enjoy some time off before starting the spring circuit on Jan. 18 at Virginia Tech.

Dawson said the team is gunning for an Ivy League title, which would come with an automatic berth into the National Tournament.

“At this point, we control our own destiny in the Ivy League. We just want to go out on the court, take care of business, and hopefully when all is said and done, we will be Ivy League champions and be headed to the [National] Tournament,” he said.

The Bulldogs’ coaches for the 2013-’14 season are Dorato and assistant coach Christian Appleman.

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