MEDFORD – The Tufts University men's tennis program enjoyed the most significant moment in the program's history during the fall when sophomore Boris Sorkin won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Cup national singles championship. With their 2018-19 season resuming this weekend, the Jumbos look to continue this momentum during team competition this spring.
|Sophomore Boris Sorkin won the ITA fall singles championship in October.|
Sorkin completed his remarkable run through the fall season by winning in three sets against Chad Leduff from UC Santa Cruz 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 to take the ITA fall tennis singles title. He was also the ITA New England singles champion and was the Middlebury Invitational A singles winner as well.
Now ranked #1 nationally in singles by the ITA, Sorkin is representative of the young talent on head coach Karl Gregor's team. The Jumbos have two sophomores and two freshmen likely to start. Sophomores Carl-Herman Grant and Niko Hereford also saw some success during the fall season. Sophomore Owen Bartok, who made the team as a walk-on last year, should also be starting in the top six. Freshman Isaac Gorelik won the C singles title at the Middlebury Invitational in the fall and Paris Pentousis should play a key role in his first spring season. Freshman Jack Moldenhauer advanced into the C singles final at Bates College's Wallach Invitational in the fall.
The Jumbos have plenty of experience to call upon as well. They will be led by co-captains Ross Kamin, the only senior on the roster, and junior Ethan Bershtein. Juniors Ben Biswas, Nathan Niemiec and Zach Shaff were all singles starters who return this spring.
"Building off of Sorkin's success in the fall, the rest of the team has really been working hard to follow suit and fill in the lower spots," Gregor said. "I feel very confident that this year's team is better at every position 1-6 than last year's team."
In doubles, some experienced tandems from last year return and a few others who had some success in the fall are options as well. Shaff and Niemiec were starting in second doubles at the end of last season, while Biswas and Bershtein were the third pair. Sorkin and Grant and Shaff with Moldenhauer won matches at Middlebury's fall tournament. Niemiec/Pentousis, Hereford/Grant and Kamin/Pentouis also won fall matches.
"We have been working particularly hard at doubles," Coach Gregor said. "In just the first three weeks of the preseason I've seen tremendous strides."
The season-opener against Brandeis will be a great test for the Jumbos. The Judges are the #10 ranked team in the country and Tufts is at #22 in the ITA poll. The local rivalry is a match the Jumbos always get up for and having it as the first contest of the season will be a great springboard into the new year.
The team's California spring break trip has them facing off against five top 30 teams including #11 Pomona-Pitzer and #18 Sewanee. Into NESCAC play, the Jumbos want to be among the six qualifiers for the conference tournament for the first time since 2016. That's never easy considering #2 Middlebury, #3 Bowdoin, #5 Williams, #7 Amherst, and #9 Wesleyan all start the year ranked higher by the ITA than the Jumbos.
However, there's a new air of excitement surrounding the team that started in the fall and they hope to continue with team success this spring.
"There is a lot of opportunity for this young team," Coach Gregor said. "The leadership from the captains has been great and a big reason for our great start. The team's attitude, energy and preparation as a whole is the best I've seen in my five years at Tufts. I'm excited to see what they can accomplish."