In 2002, the men’s tennis team saw success in the early portion of the season, but failed to reach their ultimate goal. The Hurricanes reached the Big East Finals before falling to Notre Dame at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
This year, a much less experienced bunch will try to bring the Big East title back to Miami. One of those youngsters, sophomore Todd Widom, will likely be the determining factor in the ‘Canes productivity this season. Widom comes into the season as the ninth ranked player in the nation, and gives the ‘Canes a solid No.1 singles player. Widom also has the capability to deliver a doubles point as well, something that head coach Bryan Getz knows is extremely important.
“It is imperative to win the doubles point because then you only have to win three out of the six singles matches,” Getz said. “With the talent we have, there aren’t many teams who will be able to take four out of six points from us.”
This Miami team could be its most inexperienced in quite some time. Only two players return from last season (Widom and Andrew Golub), and after that, the ‘Canes are forced to rely on four freshman and a transfer.
Widom may be one of the top players in the country, but much of that success has to do with his work ethic. Widom’s effort gives the sophomore a chance to win every time he steps on the court and Getz says that kind of player is great for this program.
“Having Todd does a lot for this program because he bring us exposure, a superb tennis player, and he works so hard to improve,” Getz said. “He leads this team by setting an example with his hard work.”
The last time the Miami Hurricanes hired a new head coach for a sports team from within their own program, they settled on a man who didn’t turn out to be a bad choice. Head football coach Larry Coker won a national title his first season, and has only lost one game in his two seasons as head coach.
This year UM has in a new head coach in Getz, who was with the program for the last two seasons as an assistant under Jay Berger. Getz doesn’t expect Coker’s success overnight, but hopes that his young team improves everyday.
“Experience is a big part of college tennis, but I think that we have such a young group, that we can’t use that as an excuse,” Getz said. “It is important for us to get better everyday, for every individual player to keep improving.”
The ‘Canes come into the season ranked No. 42 in the country, a ranking that the team doesn’t agree with.
“One of our goals is to win the Big East championship,” Getz said. “Our pre-season rank is No. 42 and we think we are better than that, and this team is determined to prove that they are better than that.”
If this team is to prove that it is better than that, it will need its freshmen (Colin Purcell, Tim Crebs, John Hoyes, and Eric Hechtman) to get the necessary points to win matches. However, the youth of this team allows them to be together for a few years.
“We have such a great group of young guys who will be great college tennis players,” Getz said.
-You can reach Darren Grossman at DRG215@aol.com