Season Preview: Men's tennis looks to take the next step

HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Haverford College men's tennis team returns all but one player from last year's squad that went 9-10 and made it to the Centennial Conference semifinals. Head coach Sean Sloane's returning lineup, brimming with talent and experience, looks to take the next step this season.

Returnees: Junior tri-captain Kevin Caulfield, aiming to repeat as all-conference in singles and doubles, heads the list of returnees. Caulfield, 12-5 last season, will play No. 1 singles again and partner with classmate Danny Himelstein, 2011 all-conference first-team doubles honoree, to form an imposing doubles tandem at the top of the lineup.

Taking over the No. 2 singles spot, senior tri-captain Natty Sergay should prove prove to be a strong force. Sergay will partner with fellow tri-captain and classmate Will Garrett, who posted a 7-4 singles record last season, constituting a formidable No. 3 doubles team.

Junior Matthew Cebul and sophomore Matt Romei, remain mainstays at No. 2 doubles after achieving an enormous win last year over conference champion Johns Hopkins at that same spot. Sloane indicates Cebul and Romei's results this year at No. 2 as crucial to the Fords' success.

Providing depth are sophomore Andy Dougherty (8-9 in singles competition last season) and junior Jake Weisenthal, who will be singles specialists in the lower half of the lineup and ready to step in if any of the doubles teams falter.

Newcomers: Sloane points to freshman Sloan Millman as a player to watch. "Millman brings his own special brand of effervescence to the team and once he learns to harness his considerable power game he will be a valuable addition in both singles and doubles," offers Sloane.

Schedule: Providing a deeper look at the schedule, coach Sloane comments "our schedule is front-loaded, with a home opener against NCAA Division III qualifier Stevens Institute of Technology, followed by three matches in California on our spring trip -- nationally-ranked in D-III Vassar and Pomona, plus Occidental. Returning home from California, important conference matches with Washington College, Franklin & Marshall, and Swarthmore will determine our seeding for the conference playoffs."

Coach's Outlook: "All our returning players have improved and we are hitting the ball well. Despite a difficult February practice schedule, I am encouraged by our team's excellent depth -- everybody is well ahead of where they were last year at this time.  If we can avoid injury, I expect a winning record and a chance to do damage in the conference tournament."

The opportunity to realize those goals begins Wednesday as Haverford welcomes Steven's at 4 p.m.