Fresh off of their fall schedule the Stetson men’s tennis team is now preparing for the 2014 regular season, which begins Saturday, Jan. 11 with a match at Georgia Tech. The Hatters return a lump sum of components to their 2013 squad, which saw them compile a 15-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
“The beauty of our team is that anybody can pretty much be number one, so we expect each and every one to fight day in and day out so they can move up in the lineup,” said associate head coach Christophe Noblet.
The Hatters completed a successful fall slate, with appearances at the Southern Collegiate in Athens, Ga., as well as the Bedford Cup in Tallahassee. The team also competed in the Wake Forest Invitational and the ITF Future USA-F30, before returning to DeLand to train and prepare for what 2014 has in store for them.
“The objective for the fall was for all of our guys to play as many matches as possible and that’s exactly what we achieved,” Noblet explained. “We played four fall tournaments where each player basically had the chance to play two or three matches and the opportunity to make adjustments in their style.”
Heading into the New Year Noblet’s hopes are high. With seven of the nine team members returning from a year ago and freshman Graham Ball (Baie-D'Urfe, Quebec ) sprinkled into the mix, there’s no reason to think that this team can’t surpass last year’s success.
“We have the skill set to be successful during the spring and we are looking forward to having the chance to actually demonstrate that,” he said.
“I think what is exciting about having them back is they already know what to expect. They went through one season and they know how challenging it is,” said Noblet about the talented corps of returners.
One familiar face that won’t be on the court this season is Didrik Berg, who completed his four-year Stetson career in 2013, being named to the A-Sun All-Conference Second Team, with Julin as his doubles partner.
“Didrik was obviously a great player but he was also a great leader as a senior captain,” Noblet said. “We will miss that but I think Hans Adrian (Riseng) has stepped up pretty well to that leadership role this year as our only senior.”
Following their match-up with the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta, the Hatters return home for an Alumni Match, before heading back on the road to compete in the ITF Future USA-F4 (Jan. 24-26) in Palm Coast, Fla. Stetson will have their official 2014 home opener, Feb. 2 vs. Georgia Southern at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center.
“Right now we have three ranked teams on the schedule but we should have five or six because three are not rankled right now but could be eventually,” Noblet explained of his team’s 2014 slate. “If we can face and embrace that challenge we will be ready for the conference tournament.”
The Hatters host No. 62 Georgia State Feb. 28 and No. 71 North Florida March 22, but will take on No. 66 ETSU, on the road, March 15 in Johnson City, Tenn. This year’s A-Sun Championship is scheduled for April 18-20 in Jacksonville.