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Muhlenberg College

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

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Season Preview
men’s tennis looks to depth for success

Greater depth in 2008 may help the Muhlenberg men’s tennis team solve its troubles with doubles.

The Mules open their season Sunday with a challenging
Jesse Kirschenbaum
Kirschenbaum is in his third season as a team captain.
match at Swarthmore, which has joined the Centennial Conference after 23 years as an independent. The Garnet, ranked seventh in the region, has qualified for the NCAA Tournament 30 of the last 31 years.

“We have a very deep team,” said senior captain Jesse Kirschenbaum. “We have 8-10 guys legitimately competing for six singles slots and four good doubles teams. Last year, if we had an injury there was a significant dropoff in talent.”

That showed up particularly in doubles play, and it didn’t help that last year men’s tennis went from seven-point scoring (one point for all the doubles) to nine-point scoring (each doubles match worth a point). Muhlenberg won only five doubles matches in eight CC contests, meaning it started singles play already in a big hole most of the time.

“We’ve put more emphasis on doubles, and we’re coming in with established teams,” remarked Kirschenbaum, whose pairing with sophomore Mark Apostolos produced a team-best 4-2 record last year. The doubles teams “have chemistry, so there’s not going to be as much of an adjustment.”

Although they are still a young team, the Mules are not short on
Jamie Goldman
Goldman has more career singles wins (15) than any other active Mule.
experience, as they return almost everyone who played last year. Sophomore Robbie Goldwein did a creditable job at No. 1 singles in the tough CC, and senior Jamie Goldman, junior Brian Wernick and sophomore Jonathan Farber tied for the team lead with five singles wins apiece.

Senior Doug Wayne leads all active Muhlenberg players with nine career doubles victories, and junior Tim Ness won four doubles matches last spring.

The experienced players will be joined by a solid group of freshman, two of whom (John Osborne and Dan Zakheim) broke in by winning their flights at the Muhlenberg Fall Classic.

“They will have an impact at the top of the lineup, at both singles and doubles,” said Kirschenbaum. “All the freshmen are doing a good job getting adjusted to college tennis.”

The Mules’ home opener is scheduled for Wednesday, March 12, against Moravian, and they will spend the rest of the month of March playing on the road. But Muhlenberg has six home matches scheduled for April, and by that time the team hopes to be competing for a playoff spot.

“We’re approaching this season with a much better work ethic,” Kirschenbaum said. “We feel if we stay healthy we can compete with the upper echelon teams in the Centennial Conference.”

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