March 14, 2007

M. Tennis Faces Tough Competition in Ivy Play

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Headlined by the 2005-06 first team All-Ivy doubles tandem of seniors Nick Brunner and Josh Raff, the men’s tennis team is ready to compete fiercely with the rest of the Ivy League this year. The Red, ranked as high as No. 66 nationally in the 05-06 season, will attempt to improve on last year’s successes and be a factor this season among the Ivies.

‘Head coach Barry Schoonmaker is returning in his 12th season with the Red, joined by his new assistant coach Marcus Fonseca.

‘“The Ivy League is really tough this year,” Schoonmaker said. “There have been years with better teams at the top, but this year everybody’s good. Every match is going to be tough for us to win — nothing’s going to come easy. I can remember teams that had 1-6 Ivy records, but lost several close matches by a matter of a few points, 4-3. If we come through on big points, we’ll do well.”

‘The Red’s only major loss to graduation is Brett McKeon ’06, who helped to lead the team to a 11-10 overall (2-5 Ivy) record with wins over Dartmouth and Harvard — the Red’s first victory over the Crimson since 1960.

‘Senior tri-captains Brunner, Raff and Dan Brous lead the roster for the Red. Brunner was voted the most valuable player of 2006, posting a spectacular 11-2 record in Ivy play. He is returning this spring after an abdominal injury last fall and he will share the No. 1 and No. 2 spot with his doubles partner Raff, a hard-hitting left-hander. The pair has already earned some serious wins this season, including a victory over the No. 7 nationally ranked team from Wake Forest at the ITA All-American championship. Brous rounds out the top-3 singles spots with his big serve and bigger competitive drive. New Zealand native Kevin Jay has also had success this season, advancing to the finals of the B flight singles at the Cornell Indoor Invitational.

‘Junior Rory Heggie will compete for the Red at fourth singles and will pair with Brous in doubles. A solid baseliner, Heggie has already come through in big matches over Dartmouth and Yale for the Red at the ECAC championships last fall. Classmate Weston Nichols, one of the team’s hardest workers, was the most improved player on the squad last fall, playing 26 matches and posting a 7-6 singles record.

‘The talented sophomore class is led by Kyle Doppelt, who returns to play after being sidelined with a shoulder injury last fall. The lefty had a 17-9 singles record as a freshman and will be a factor in singles and doubles play this season. Peter Kung, a fast all-court player, has proven his mental toughness already this spring by prevailing in tight matches in the lower half of the singles lineup. Also a reliable player looking to break into the singles and doubles lineup is Josh Goldstein. Marc Asch has paired with Doppelt to earn wins for the Red this spring, while Bryant Yung often teams up with Nichols in doubles competition.

‘Standout rookie Jonathan Fife has shown the Red that he is a reliable competitor in the No. 6 singles spot, often beating his opponents in lopsided matches with his strong serve and forehand.

‘“Fife is playing pretty solid,” Schoonmaker said. “The only bad thing is that we need to get him playing better guys, he’s been steamrolling through his opponents lately.”

‘Fife’s classmate Richard Offutt is looking to use his power and gain match experience during the spring season.