The Castleton men’s tennis team is going into this season as defending North Atlantic Conference champions after an undefeated season in 2009. Last season, the Spartans clinched the number one seed in the NAC and then defeated Thomas College 7-2 in the championship, finishing their perfect 14-0 season.
But the team graduated four seniors last year, including senior-standout C.J. Sullivan, who was voted NAC player of the year. The only players returning are junior Justin Garritt and sophomore Willie Levine.
Head coach Bruce Moreton said it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get the team to match the success of last year’s squad.
“This year we are rebuilding. With only two starters returning, we will have our work cut out for us,” Moreton said.
But he said he has total confidence in his two returning players. He said both are very unselfish and will do anything to help their new teammates improve.
“Both Willie and Justin will be instrumental to our having any success, not only through their match play, but also through their working with the new players on the team,” he said.
Last season, Levine was named NAC Rookie of the Year. He was 2-1 in conference play at number-two singles and 4-0 at number-three singles. He was also named to the All-Conference Singles First Team.
Garritt was also named to the All-Conference Singles First Team and made All-Conference Doubles First Team along with senior Ted Panasci.
Garritt said he’s excited to get started.
“Overall I’m confident with the combination of our experienced players, exceptional coach, and the new talent we have,” Garritt said.
Moreton, however, cautioned about expectations.
“We know that we will have to work hard if this year’s team is going to have similar success,” he said. “That is exactly what we are doing, and by the end of the season, I think we will be very competitive.”
The team starts its season away against Norwich on March 10. The first home game is March 14 against Lyndon.