Men's Tennis Looks for Big Step Forward in 2013-14
Aug 22, 2013
CHICAGO – Entering his seventh season at DePaul, men’s tennis head coach Matt Brothers is excited about his team after watching a very young collection of players take their lumps at times last season.
Despite some solid accomplishments as a group, including a ranked win over UC Irvine in February and a 4-1 record at home, the Blue Demons know they have plenty of room for improvement after finishing the spring with six dual wins.
“Hopefully, with this reconfigured conference, we all use each other to get better and be competitive,” said Brothers. “Down the line, I’d like to develop a conference schedule with some rivalries. That would be my ideal world.”
With the continued development of a young core, a returning unanimous All-BIG EAST performer in Filip Dzanko and some talented newcomers, however, Brothers expects his squad to be right back in the heat of the race for a conference title this season.
“I feel like we’re one of the favorites to win the conference,” said Brothers. “I’m always the optimist, and I feel like we’re going to be the team to beat. We had a young team last year, and those guys have taken their licks. We’re going to come back a lot more experienced and we’ve added some talent and depth to our program as well.”
Among the new arrivals to the program, Alabama transfer David Vieyra was an All-American in doubles last season while Tim Corwin and Joshua Schramm figure to compete for time somewhere in the middle of the lineup. A deep returning sophomore class also projects to improve on the court after each experienced a solid finish to the spring season.
Among that group, Sten Leusink had perhaps the best debut with 16 singles wins, including three straight to cap the year at the BIG EAST Championship in March – a tournament in which the Blue Demons nearly knocked off No. 50 Louisville before finishing sixth overall.
“Kyle Johnson is a talented guy and he, unfortunately, started the season with some injuries last year,” said Brothers. “He has the potential to play and be successful in the upper-half of the lineup, so he’s a guy I’m counting on to be a good 3-4-5 player for us. The sky’s the limit with him.
“Paul John was coming on strong at the end of last season, too, and is definitely somebody I think can be a contributor in the 4-5-6 range in the lineup.”
At the top of the order, Brothers has a known quantity in returning senior Filip Dzanko. The Split, Croatia-native is coming off a 17-win season with two triumphs coming against ITA-ranked foes. An owner of 61 career singles wins, Dzanko will be counted on to carry the load at the top spot all season long.
As long as the lineup fills in around Dzanko, it could be a quick reload for the Blue Demons as the team loses just one student-athlete from last season.
The full 2013-14 schedule for DePaul tennis will be announced in the coming weeks.