A record-breaking season is quite a feat and sets a precedent for the future years of the sport. When it comes time to start the subsequent season, the players must work even harder to ensure success, as the game schedule becomes even more competitive. The recent success of the men’s tennis team has given them a clear goal for their 2013 season, that is, to once again qualify for the NCAA finals, and so far they are off to a good start.
Last year the team advanced to the final sixteen round of the NCAA finals for the first time in the program’s history. It also marked the first time the Brewers had a doubles team whose record qualified them to be an All-American doubles, and traveled to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Small College National Championships. The duo finished sixth in the nation after finishing the regular season 30-6.
One of the members of that pair is senior Andrew Guzick, whose leadership and skill will assist the tennis team as they try to repeat last year’s success. This season is already different from previous years, Guzick notes. “This year was the first since I’ve been here that we actually started practice before classes even started. I think those extra couple days at the beginning were really crucial to get a jump start on getting everyone back in shape,” Guzick wrote in an emailed statement. “Coach Cox has been placing more emphasis on fitness during practice… That, combined with the extra time a lot of guys have been putting in the gym, especially during our off-season, will be crucial during the longer, tougher matches, which we should have a lot of this season.”
Aside from physical preparation, the dynamics of the team must also be present. Freshman Christian Phelps is confident that the players are ready. “I’m just excited to see all our passion come together this season, “ he notes. “The great thing about team tennis is that an individual sport has purpose, and with a team like ours, we’re really going to be out there playing for each other. I think we’ll push each other’s games by supporting one another, and I’m excited to see such a great team get even better.”
The Brewers have already started the season on a good note. On Saturday, February 2 they had a 7-2 win against visiting Clark University. Both Guzick and fellow senior Dan Freeman defeated Clark’s number one players in both doubles and singles matches. Phelps and freshman Evan Udine also had a doubles victory, as did freshman Daniel Cooper in the number four singles position. The win puts Vassar 3-0 to start the season, with previous victories coming from matches against Bard and Union in October.
Building off last year’s achievements is the main goal for the men’s tennis team. Guzick notes that, “there is always room for improvement. This year, we’re determined to bring a Liberty League championship back to Vassar, something Skidmore has stopped us from doing the past two years. Beating Skidmore at Liberty Leagues and having another good run at NCAAs are our two big outcome goals this season.”
To accomplish this, Phelps knows that tennis requires all around strength. “[I]t takes hard work, athleticism, and a steady mind to win… And I think the best asset we have at Vassar is Coach Cox,” he adds. “He’s a smart guy, a dedicated coach, and he’s definitely got our backs.”
For Guzick the chance to make an impact on the tennis program seems within reach. He hopes to bring together all the talent of the team to have a noteworthy season. “[W]e seniors have been playing together for 3 years, and we’re really determined to leave Vassar with a bang. That, combined with the excitement all the new guys bring to practice, is creating a really positive team dynamic. We’re looking to make big things happen this year.”