Preview: Men's Tennis to Go with Young Lineup

Friday, March 22, 2013

During and after its home match against Arcadia tomorrow morning, the Muhlenberg men’s tennis team will be holding a Campus Kids’ Day, an initiative of the United States Tennis Association designed to expose current and aspiring junior players to college tennis.

Jason Teitelbaum
Teitelbaum teamed up with Blumenthal to reach the consolation final in the B1 doubles flight at the ITA Southeast Regional.
The Mules are a perfect team to promote tennis to youngsters.

Muhlenberg will field an extremely young squad as it begins its spring season in earnest tomorrow. (The Mules played their first spring match against Lafayette a month ago.) There are only three juniors on the team, two of whom will be in the starting lineup.

“It came up pretty fast,” joked junior Jason Teitelbaum, on being a team captain as a junior. “I was a captain in high school, but as a senior. It’s pretty exciting. I love leading this team.”

Despite their youth, the Mules have plenty of experience. Teitelbaum (No. 3 singles) and classmate Ben Berkowitz (No. 4 singles) have been starters throughout their Muhlenberg careers. Sophomore Daniel Lakhman moves into the No. 1 spot after winning eight matches at No. 2 last year and capturing the top singles flight at the Mule Fall Classic. Sophomore Eric Chavis will play at No. 5 again this year.

The two freshmen in the lineup, Max Blumenthal at No. 2 and Dylan Ander at No. 6, both gained valuable experience in the fall, with Ander reaching the B6 singles final at the ITA Southeast Regional.

Several other members of a strong freshman class could push for playing time.

Ben Berkowitz
Berkowitz leads active Mule players with 21 career singles wins. He led the team with nine victories in the 2011-12 year.
“I think we have really strong singles,” said Teitelbaum. “We need to work on getting our doubles down and work on our team chemistry. Usually in the past our doubles has been pretty rough.”

Muhlenberg’s offcourt team chemistry should help it succeed on the court.

“We’re pretty close,” remarked Teitelbaum. “We’ve been having practice together but also hanging out outside of practice – making the team feel like an actual team.”

The Mules will get plenty of chances to hang out together at matches and on bus rides starting in a couple of weeks. In the period from April 5 to April 27, the team is scheduled to play 11 matches in 23 days, including one stretch of seven matches (five of them on the road) in 12 days.

Most of those competitions will be against opponents from the Centennial Conference, which should be tough as always. Five CC teams were in the top 11 in the region in the preseason rankings, and Johns Hopkins is ranked in the top 10 in Division III. Picked ninth in the CC preseason poll, the Mules hope they can surprise some teams.

“I want us to do better than last year and have a strong winning season,” said Teitelbaum. “I feel like we have a good team, and it’s definitely possible.”