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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Tennis season closes

Published: April 28, 2006
Section: Sports

They were undermanned and overmatched heading to Emory University for the UAA Tournament. There was no David defeating Goliath as the tennis seasons for the mens and womens teams ended with a whimper. The mens squad finished eighth out of eight teams while, the womens team managed to avoid the cellar, beating Case-Western to take seventh place.

The mens team entered the tournament having lost two of their top players, Chris Hersel 06 (torn labrum) and Mike Vulfovich 07 (MCATs and shoulder injury), which in turn forced Coach Ben Lamanna to shake up his singles line-up and doubles team.
We were up against the eight-ball weekend long was how Coach Lamanna summed it up.

The UAA started off with a crushing by eventual tournament runners-up Washington University 7-0. This was quickly followed by 4-1 drubbings in the consolation matches to Chicago and Case Western. Sam Jonas 07 took the lone wins in both matches in the number one spot. Jonas's much improved play following a difficult season was a welcome sign to Coach Lamanna. “Sam just conquered himself. He's done making excuses about his health, about his quickness, about his shoulder, he's just done. He decided to suck it up and play… He's a fantastic competitor.”

The womens side was also missing two players, namely number one singles and doubles player Jenn Krueger 07 and the reliable Jenicka Hornung 07. With everyone playing up a spot, Brandeis fell to Chicago in the opener 6-3. Ana Katz 08 and Gabrielle Helfgott 09 took points in the singles matches, while the doubles tandem of Colleen Donnelly 08/Shani Reich 06 won the other. This was followed with a disappointing loss to Rochester 5-2. Donnelly and Katz were the winners in the number 1 and 3 singles matches respectively. This was a match that Coach Lamanna felt couldve been won and he was especially dismayed with the Judges being swept in doubles play.

“That was certainly a low point for the weekend… The Rochester women's match was winnable with the line-up we put up there.”

They managed to regroup though and destroyed Case-Western 5-0, sweeping the doubles matches and needing only Donnelly and Katzs wins in singles play to clinch seventh place. Both players were highlights for the women's team, especially Katz, who had a difficult season. As Coach Lamanna explained, “Ana Katz has made an amazing contribution…In a way, she took herself out of the equation, she wasn't battling herself, she was pushing her energy forward towards her opponent. I was really proud of her.”

Prior to the tournament, the mens side finished the regular with two wins: Salve-Regina on April 10th and Connecticut College on the 17th. These wins were sandwiched with home losses to NYU back on the 8th and Tufts on the 18th.
The womens side, on the other hand, had only one match, a 9-0 sweep at the hands of Wellesley back on the 11th.

With few seniors on each side, there should little turnover with the starting rosters depending on the success of Coach Lamannas recruitment drive. Hersel and Hart Comess-Daniels 06 hang up their spurs for the mens side while Shani Reich 06 rides off into the sunset for the womens club. Their leadership will be missed, but Lamanna has his eye on the future. With “Plan A,” as he put it, over, Lamanna has made depth a priority and has some first-years coming in that have him feeling confident about the state of the program.

“The guys know there are going to be some freshman that are going to legitimately push them and I think that the women know that as well. We're going to be a lot deeper next year…Next year, we should be nationally ranked, the years after, definitely.”