By ETHAN TOBIN
Following memorable seasons with impressive results in both the Capital Athletic Conference and on the national scene, the men’s and women’s tennis teams are back on the court as the new season arrives.
Finishing with a record of 7-0 CAC and 21-6 overall while also extending its season into the third round of the NCAA Tournament and reaching a national ranking of No. 15, the men’s team looks to swing itself right back into top form for another dominant season.
Alongside the seven returning Eagles, the program welcomes five freshmen: Max Fritsch, Derek Hagino, Patrick Hughes, Axel Jobeus, Matt Miles and one transfer, sophomore Ryan Berry.
Saturday, Sept. 19, these new Eagles took to the court alongside their teammates at the UMW Kickoff Classic, where they showed much promise and potential in their game. The Eagles, who faced three schools including George Mason, Washington & Lee and North Carolina Wesleyan, finished with a team doubles record of 6-0 and went 12-11 in singles.
Sophomore Eric Hurwitz, who finished his freshmen year campaign with a singles and doubles record of 22-8 and 12-3 respectively and being named to the First Team All-CAC selections, has high hopes and good vibes about his first year teammates.
“They bring a lot of energy to the team and all ended with good results following this past weekend’s tournament,” Hurwitz said.
When asked what would be the biggest difference between this seasons and last, Hurwitz replied, “We lost 3 doubles starters and 2 singles starts so there is obviously going to be big differences in lineups.”
Although it is evident that many shoes will need to be filled, the team remains poised and highly optimistic about the season.
“When the team is in big moments, we’ll rely mostly on our doubles because doubles is our ticket to getting good leads. With six incoming players, we will produce solid combinations that will get us those important wins.”
Following this past Saturday’s play, freshmen Patrick Hughes and sophomore Ryan Berry displayed great play posting 2-0 records individually and are key examples of what the new talent is bringing to the program.
Posting a record, 7-0 CAC and 17-8 overall, and finishing with their 12th consecutive CAC title, the Eagle’s women’s tennis team is also in position for another big year within the conference and on the national scale.
Following a season that also led them to the second round of the NCAA tournament this past May, the Eagles will be led by 13 returners with only two freshmen newcomers, Sarah Fiorettio and Danielle Mirabella, joining the team. The Eagles have the depth, experience and leadership that they hope can once again take them far in the conference and nationally.
Along with their male counterparts, the women’s team posted dominant performances at the UMW kickoff classic where they took on Washington & Lee and George Mason University. As a team, the Eagles posted an 8-0 record in doubles and finished 8-13 in two rounds of singles play against opponents.
Leading the way for the women’s tennis team includes senior standout Shelby Harris who won CAC Player of the Year last year and received All-CAC First Team singles and doubles honors.
Accompanying Harris, five additional standouts will hope to serve their A-game once again this season. These players include All-CAC First Team single and doubles honors seniors Christina Gaul, Mackenzie Smith, sophomores Kait Brogan, Caroline Mosberg and Senior All-CAC Singles honors senior Alina Suyama.
The men’s next contest will be Friday, Sept. 25 at the Navy Invitational and the women’s next contest will be Oct. 2 at the Mount St. Mary’s Invitational.