Ask sophomore Kristian Marquart about his goals for the upcoming season, and he will only tell you one thing: win the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship.
“[My] personal goal is to win the A-10,” Marquart said. “As a team, that’s the most important thing.”
Although it is hard to match Marquart’s resolve, the rest of the team shares the sentiment. The whole team is optimistic about the 2012-13 men’s tennis season.
“We are improving day by day, and overall the team is pretty strong, so I think we should do pretty well,” senior Kacper Rams said.
Coach Steve Mauro believes that the team performed well at the Navy Blue Invitational from Sept. 7 to Sept. 9, even though the team won seven of the 21 matches they played.
“I think overall it went well,” Mauro said. “We started out slow but as the matches progressed, the guys picked it up. Especially the last match against Navy, we actually performed very well. So I’m very optimistic about the upcoming season.”
Both Marquart and Rams attributed the results, in part, to a lack of practice time.
“We didn’t have official practice before the tournament, but in that case, we still got some pretty good results,” Marquart said.
“We’re still getting into shape, and overall it was a great experience for the team,” Rams said.
Mauro said that conditioning is a prime focus in practice right now.
“I think we’re a little bit out of shape, because it’s early in the season, but we’re working on that,” Mauro said. “I don’t think we’re going to be at 100 percent, but I think we’ll be a lot better for our next tournament.”
The team’s next tournament is The University of Pennsylvania Invitational, held at the Hamlin Tennis center from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30. Mauro said some of the schools that will be attending are Penn, Villanova University, Drexel University, St. Joseph’s University, Georgetown University and Princeton University.
“Overall the team is pretty strong, so I think we should do pretty well,” Rams said. “We are improving day by day.”
“We should have a good showing at Penn,” Mauro said.
Rams is the only upperclassman on the team and the only player with more than a semester of experience, so he has naturally assumed the leadership role on the team, he said.
“We have three new players, and two kind of still freshman guys who came last spring,” Rams said. “I’m the one with the most experience on the team, so I have to be the one that will lead and guide the guys on the team.”
Rams played doubles with his brother Filip for the last three years. Though he played with freshman Nicholas Paulus at Navy, he is not sure who he will be playing with this year.
“We got a bunch of new players, we’re still trying to figure it out, which match-up is the best for the whole team, so we will see,” Rams said.
Unlike Marquart’s goal of winning the conference championship, Rams has multiple personal goals for the season.
“This is my last season, so my personal goal is to make it special,” Rams said. “In the fall, there is the ITA Regionals in Virginia, which [is] the most important [tournament] of the fall season, so I will try to do my best there.”
“For spring season, the A-10 championship is the goal. Personal, and as a team goal too,” Rams added.
Marquart said the team spirit will help in both types of matches.
“The team is getting along very well,” Marquart said. “The harmony of the team was pretty well [at Navy].”
“Not only doubles, when we play singles and everyone is cheering for one another, then it’s good as well,” Marquat added.
Mauro said despite the inexperience of the team, they can do very well this year.
“I think having a young team is a challenge, because it takes them a little bit of time to learn what it is to play college tennis,” Mauro said. “Overall, I feel that by the end of the year we’ll gel, and I think we should probably be one of the top teams in the Atlantic 10.”
Evan Cross can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @EvanCross.