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Men’s tennis on the rise

By Kara Karter

Section: Sports

August 27, 2010

To the Brandeis men’s tennis team, the 2009-2010 season was one to remember. After finishing in fourth place in the University Athletic Association’s annual tournament–the team’s best result under current Head Coach Ben Lamanna–the squad earned itself national recognition. The 30th ranked Judges are the first Brandeis men’s tennis team to have earned a national ranking since 1989.

“The coaching staff works hard and the guys work hard, so I think it’s really a tribute to everybody,” Lamanna told The Hoot.

For the Judges, who finished at 9-10 last season, their national merit likely derives from a come-from-behind victory against the University of Chicago in April’s UAA tournament. Brandeis defeated Chicago, the 15th-ranked team in the country, by a 5-4 margin.

The record-breaking 2009-2010 roster returned only four of 12 players from the year before. Three rookies–Steven Milo ’13, Dave Yovanoff ’13, and Fred Rozenshteyn ’13–started for the Judges.

For their play as a doubles pair, Milo and Yovanoff were given second team All-UAA honors.

With minimal roster turnover and the continued improvement of his players, Lamanna–in his sixth year as head coach–doesn’t feel that his team has reached its peak.

“I’ve stressed personal development, individual improvement over the summer. Maybe putting on muscle, maybe taking off weight … I saw those improvements … since the guys have come back so I’m pretty optimistic about this year.”

The team will be led by senior Simon Miller, winner of the tiebreaking third set in the tournament match against Chicago. Playing primary at second singles, Miller went 17-10 last season.

With seven weeks of “tough” tennis against accomplished opponents in the fall portion of the season (starting Sept. 10th with the Middlebury Invitational), Lamanna is looking for his team to get some good work in.

“It’s mostly a developmental seven weeks … [Middlebury] won the national championship last year.”

A week later, the Judges head down to Providence to take part in the Brown Invitational. They will be the only Division III team to play in the tournament.

Unintimidated, Lamanna has faith in his roster.

“[Last year] we set a culture, set a foundation for the program in a way. These guys know what it’s like and they know what it takes … [they] are ready to perform at the top level of D-III.”

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