March 21 was the first official day of spring. To many UR students, this just means another four or five weeks of dealing with Rochester &lake effect& weather. But for the men&s tennis team, it marks the beginning of a challenging and competitive journey.

This trip will eventually culminate with the University Athletic Association and University Collegiate Athletic Association Championships during the last week of April.

Anticipating the most difficult part of the schedule along the way, the team will focus on a stretch of four consecutive formidable opponents in the College of New Jersey, Swarthmore College, Kenyon College and Trinity College.

UR hosts two of these matches at home, with all four of them occurring roughly within the first week of April.

The key to victory in the upcoming matches may be found in the ability to grab the doubles point, which is achieved by winning two of the three doubles matches.

&We&re able to compete with almost everyone in singles. This is a very deep team. But in order to do really well we may have to improve our doubles to ensure taking that crucial point,& junior Aaron Arfman said.

Interestingly, the team is fronted by two freshmen 8212; Colin Ryan and Dan Williford. The next chunk of the lineup consists of sophomores and juniors.

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&This year&s team is much different than previous years. In addition to the depth we now have, there is a sense of camaraderie present that definitely hasn&t been there before. It&s great to see everyone so supportive of each other,& Arfman said.

&We&ve got a solid team and everyone expects to do well this year. We&re more confident than in past years, but its deserved because the talent is there. We should be a good contender for a national ranking, which is exciting for all of us, both young and old,& he continued.

As for hopes and expectations, the team feels pretty confident in dominating the UCAA and controlling the other competitors in its conference.

The UAA will probably present a more difficult challenge.

So far this year the team has compiled a misleading 4-3 record.

Two of their wins consisted of dominating performances against Occidental College and Cal Lutheran, while two of their close losses against Div. I team University of Buffalo and 20th ranked Div. II team Pomona-Pitzer College.

Recently UR beat Nazareth College and will next host both the Rochester Institute of Technology and Hobart College Saturday, March 24 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. respectively. They will then enter into the toughest part of their schedule.

The developments over the next six weeks will determine the strength of the men&s tennis team but the bottom line is that this team has the ability to compete nationally.

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