Josh Cohen, a standout sophomore on the Hurricane men’s tennis team, tirelessly prepares for many of his matches through heated one-on-one practice sessions.
Manipulating the court and even his opponents with a colorful mix of grace and power has helped Cohen accomplish quite a bit in his short tenure on the Hurricanes.
This year will prove to be a considerable test as the team enters the tradition-rich Atlantic Coast Conference where they will face 13 teams ranked in the ITA’s first top 75 spring rankings, including No. 9 Duke and No. 10 Virginia.
“It’s a great opportunity for our team and me to prove ourselves on a national level,” Cohen said.
Cohen, a native of Weston, Fla., posted an overall record of 8-4 during fall play this season and took the USTA National Open Indoor Championship for the second consecutive year in December.
These accolades and accomplishments have not clouded his focus for the season to come.
“I think I must show up being more aggressive from the beginning of the match…obviously there is going to be much tougher competition, and I’m looking forward to it,” Cohen said.
With a new spring season looming for Cohen and the rest of the team, he received some more encouraging news when he was ranked No. 26 overall in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s first spring rankings of 2005.
His response to the added pressure of the ranking and heightened competition was brought with a trouble-free smile.
“When your tight you’re obviously not going to play to your maximum ability… it’s more about having a good time and just giving it your best,” he said.
This week the Hurricanes take on a non-conference foe in the Owls of Florida Atlantic University.
“We want to take a positive outlook on the ACC after this non-conference match up, and try to do as well as we can from there,” he said.
And a positive outlook is what he and the rest of the team have, yet he still is very much conscious of the road ahead.
“I think there’s a lot more depth [in the ACC] I mean in the Big East there are about three or four good teams and [in the ACC] every team’s at the highest level of the national caliber, so you know every match is going to be pretty tough,” he said.
As Cohen looks upon this season with high expectations, he views his new head coach, Mario Rincon, as an integral part of his potential success.
“I think everybody on the team agrees that our coach has done an excellent job preparing us and everything, but you know we just have to go out there from day one and the first match and show them that we can compete in this division.”
Larry Nolan can be contacted at email@example.com.