Season Preview: Men's Tennis Looks to Improve in Tough Conference

Friday, March 16, 2012 - page 2

When Jordan Rutt was a sophomore, he was moved to the No. 1 singles spot for the Muhlenberg men’s tennis team after starting his rookie season at No. 6. It was an impressive climb up the ladder, but it came with a price.

Jordan Rutt
Rutt leads active Mule players with 45 career wins.
“It’s a tough conference, and there are a lot of good players. I get my butt kicked a lot,” he said.

“By now I’m not afraid of the experience. I’ve learned to deal with it a lot better. I’m really enjoying tennis a lot more now and trying to make the most of my last year.”

Andrew Brod
Brod was 3-2 at No. 6 singles last year.
That last year begins in earnest for Rutt and his Mule teammates with a match at The College of New Jersey on Sunday (they played a match against Division I Lafayette before Spring Break). Muhlenberg has its Centennial Conference opener next Saturday at Gettysburg, and like Rutt said, it is a tough conference, with five teams ranked in the top 15 in the preseason regional rankings.

The Mules will take on their challenging schedule with a lineup that mixes veterans and younger players. Rutt is back for a third year at No. 1, with fellow senior Andrew Brod at No. 6. Sophomores Jason Teitelbaum and Ben Berkowitz return at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, with freshmen Daniel Lakhman and Eric Chavis rounding out the lineup.

“The freshmen are very talented,” said Rutt. “We have the potential to be stronger. Everyone’s been playing better, and we’ve been more intense at practices. And the team is closer than ever. We’re like a big family.”

Most of the family members experienced success in the fall. Rutt and Teitelbaum combined to go 4-1 at No. 1 doubles, Berkowitz reached the consolation final at the ITA Southeast Regional, and Lakhman and Chavis both went 5-2 in singles action. If they can keep up that level of play, Rutt could really enjoy his senior year, regardless of how many butt-kickings he’s absorbed.

“If everyone plays up to their potential, we have a chance to be a contender for the playoffs,” he said. “I’d love to make the playoffs in my senior year.”