Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 Season Preview

     After an off season that included some tremendous on-court work by our Panther studs, and some tremendous patience by us coaches, as we can only sit in our office and hear about the great work that's being done on the court, we're just about ready to get the 2014 season rolling! In about one week's time we will have our first official practice in what we know will be a memorable season. In addition to our excitement in anticipation of the beginning of the year, we were also thrilled to welcome back juniors Chris Frost and Peter Heidrich, who were abroad in Madrid and Prague respectively. While both seemed to have soaked up some European culture, they also were clearly working hard on their tennis as they both returned to Middlebury hitting the ball exceptionally well.
Welcome back Pete and Chris!
     After about a month of practice we'll open the competitive season on Saturday, March 8th with a doubleheader. In the morning we'll square off against Colby and later in the afternoon we will face Brandeis. The following weekend of March 15th-16th we are hosting a “Return of the Champions” event, where we will invite the members of the Middlebury NCAA Championship Teams of 2004 and 2010, as well as our individual national championship winners, back to campus. Many of these players are currently connected with our current team through the “Adopt a Panther” program we started last year. It will be fun for all of us to meet and connect with these former Panther greats. The following week we will head south to Atlanta, Georgia to play 7 matches over the course of our spring break. Our Division III opponents will include Kenyon, Emory and NC Wesleyan all of whom represent a wonderful challenge comparable to the level of competition we hope to face on our journey to the NCAA Championship! In addition to our Division III competition we will also face off against NAIA and Division II opponents. After about 10 days in Atlanta we'll head back north, rest up, and get back to work. On Friday April 4th, we host Division III great Gustavus Adolphus, who’s alumni Eric Butarac just reached the final of the doubles at the Australian Open! After a three day road trip to NESCAC foes we are home to host a double header against Bowdoin and Rensselear Polytechnic Institute on April 19th. If all goes as planned we hope to be hosting the first round of the NCAA tournament on May 9th-11th. Much has to go right to create this opportunity but we are clearly headed in the right direction! From there the plan is to be headed to California for the NCAA Final Site in Claremont!
Johno and his 5 fellow seniors...
     We would like to thank all of our wonderful Alums, Panther Parents past and present, and program boosters for all your wonderful support. We are very excited with the direction we are headed and it would not be possible without your kind generosity.
...would love nothing more than a post graduation trip to Claremont for the NCAAs!
     Once the season gets rolling be sure to continue to check in on the blog regularly as we will post an update every few matches. We look forward to a wonderful 2014 season full of fun, hard work, and the highest of aspirations!

Coach Hansen, Coach Sabel and Coach McConnell