By Dylan Fugel
The Stanford Cardinal looks forward to the dawning of the new men’s tennis season this winter, hoping to build upon last year’s performance, when the team was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by the Louisiana State Tigers. The Cardinal goes into the season unranked in the Coaches’ Poll, but checks in at No. 41 in the ITA’s more extensive rankings, which would place it on track for a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12 conference.
The Cardinal returns the core of its team from last year, however, losing no one who played a conference singles match for the team in the 2012-13 season, while also introducing a three-man freshman class that consists of former Ohio state champion Yale Goldberg, high school All-American Brandon Sutter and Roy Lederman. Goldberg has made a good start to his career on the Farm so far, finishing preseason tournament play with a record of 5-2 in doubles.
Although Stanford does not currently have a player in the ITA singles rankings, it will look to junior John Morrissey to pace the team. The Irishman, who was a second-team Pac-12 selection last year and finished the year ranked No. 58 in singles and No. 52 in doubles, went 11-9 in the No. 1 spot last year and will look to build upon that record in 2014.
Morrissey will be ably assisted by fellow junior Robert Stineman, who was a first-team Pac-12 All-Academic selection last year. Stineman, from Winnetka, Ill., finished the season with an 18-17 record and partnered with current sophomore Maciek Ramonowicz to a 16-9 record in doubles play.
Finally, the Cardinal will also look to its four-man sophomore class to carry a heavy part of the burden as the new season approaches, with Romanowicz, Anthony Tsodikov, Nolan Paige and Trey Strobel being looked upon to profit from the experience they gained last year.
All four sophomores have started well in the preseason, with the team of Paige and Strobel opening the ledger with a 4-1 record in doubles and Romanowicz and Tsodikov combining for a singles record of 12-4. Both Strobel and Tsodikov have singles victories against nationally ranked opponents as well. If Stanford is to have a successful season going forward, these sophomores will have to continue taking strides in 2014.
Stanford hopes to open the season with a bang in its first match on Jan. 14, as it hosts the Pacific Tigers at 1:30 p.m. The Cardinal then heads to Thousand Oaks, Calif., for the prestigious Sherwood Cup, where its players will face off against opponents from four of the nation’s top collegiate programs.
Contact Dylan Fugel at dfugel ‘at’ stanford.edu.