The Wesleyan University men's tennis team enters the 2018 dual match season ranked No. 5 in the Oracle Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III National Team Rankings after a historic season a year ago in which the Cardinals reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Championships.
Wesleyan, led by 2017 ITA National Men's Coach of the Year, Mike Fried, and two-time All-American Steven Chen '18, looked poised to have another excellent season in which the team brings back the majority of its roster from a year ago. The 2018 Cardinals feature three seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen.
Last year, Wesleyan finished the year ranked No. 5 in the national poll which was its highest ranking in program history. The Cardinals set a program record in wins (15), boasting an impressive 15-4 record, and claimed their first-ever NESCAC regular season title with a mark of 8-1. Wesleyan qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history and reached the quarterfinals. Chen also qualified for the NCAA Individual Tournament in singles play for the second consecutive year and won his first round match.
MEET THE TEAM:
- In addition to being a two-time All-American, Chen is also a three-time All-NESCAC selection and was named to the First Team as a junior and sophomore. Last year, he posted a 12-5 record playing in No. 1 singles. He also paired with Cam Daniels '18 in doubles play as the duo owned a 10-5 record in the No. 3 spot.
- The Cardinals will have to replace their No. 2 singles player from a year ago, Michael Liu '17, but return senior Tiago Eusebio who boasted a 10-3 record in No. 3 singles and a 12-3 mark overall. Eusebio and Win Smith '19 are also the team's top returning doubles team as they posted a 13-3 record as the No. 2 tandem a year ago.
- Chen, Daniels, Eusebio and Smith are all team captains this season. Smith was also 9-6 overall in singles play last year playing in the No. 3 spot (2-0) and the No. 4 position (7-6). Daniels was 10-5 on the year with a perfect 3-0 mark in No. 4 singles and 7-4 in No. 5 singles.
- Rounding out the top performers from a year ago is sophomore Princeton Carter who excelled on the court as a freshman. He boasted an 11-3 overall record while going 3-0 in the No. 5 spot and 8-3 in No. 6 singles.
- Fried also welcomes newcomers Andrew Finkelman '21, Zach Fleischman '21, Adrian Roji '21 and Marcus Sweeney '21. Finkelman and Fleischman were impressive in the fall. At the ITA Fall Regionals, Finkelman defeated the No. 1 singles player in the country and defending national champion, Lubomir Cuba of Middlebury, in the semifinals (6-2, 6-3) before falling short in the title match. Fleischman, teamed up with Daniels in doubles action, reached the quarterfinals of the regional tournament.
- Fried enters his sixth season at the helm of the Wesleyan tennis programs and has brought both the men's and women's teams into the national spotlight (the women rank No. 8 in the national polls). He was named both the Men's Division III Wilson/ITA Northeast and National Coach of the Year a season ago.