Loaded with experience and brimming with talent, the York College men’s tennis team is primed to make a big splash in 2008. After finishing last year with an overall team record of 10-7, the Spartans look to post a strong season competing in the tough Capital Athletic Conference.
“I really like where we are to start the season,” Spartan head coach Mark Ludwig said. “We have a legitimate chance to win at every spot throughout our lineup.”
Ludwig begins his tenth season at the helm of the York program, entering the 2008 campaign with one of his most talented teams to date. At the top of the lineup sits junior Tim Mowrer who has held the number one slot for the past two seasons. In 2007, Mowrer manned the court for all 17 matches as the squad’s number one, playing his way to a strong 13-4 mark.
“Tim is simply a winner,” Ludwig said. “He is extremely athletic and possesses a great desire to win.”
Ryan Fickes returns to the green and white for his junior campaign. The left-hander won ten of his 14 matches last season playing as the Spartans’ number two. He also teamed with Josh Kulp in number one doubles in 2007, as the pair combined for a 9-3 record.
“Ryan has a big game,” Ludwig said. “He has great ground strokes and provided valuable wins in big matches last year.”
After a one-year hiatus, senior Ron Ho once again dons the green and white as he looks to garner one of the top spots in the Spartan lineup. A quality player, Ho should provide York with quality wins throughout the season. He is also set to team with Fickes as the Spartans’ top doubles pair in 2008.
“It is great to have Ron back this season,” Ludwig said. “He has won some big matches for us in the past and we look for him to have a great senior campaign.”
Sophomore Paul Graci breaks into the lineup for 2008 having worked hard to improve his game over the off season. An athletic player, Graci’s quickness will allow him to cover the whole court and make him a tough opponent.
“Paul has really developed over the last year,” Ludwig said. “Mentally he is very strong and has a competitive edge to win every time out.”
Junior captain Joel Trimmer enters the 2008 campaign looking to build off a solid sophomore season. Trimmer posted an overall mark of 7-10 but played well in the number four slot going 6-5. He will team with Mowrer in number two doubles after the duo went 8-7 last season.
“Joel is very competitive,” Ludwig said. “He simply goes out and gets the job done. His leadership will be valuable to our overall success this year.”
Sophomore Steve Collison is another young Spartan who should see significant time in the lineup. Learning the collegiate game as a freshman, Collison used the off season to improve his game and is primed to contribute in 2008.
“There has been some great improvement in Steve’s game,” Ludwig said. “He is an extremely athletic player who will compete hard in every match.”
After spending last semester studying abroad, Josh Kulp returns to the Spartan court looking to regain his 2007 form, a year in which he earned All-CAC second-team honors. Overall, the junior posted a 12-3 mark and was dominant as the Spartans’ fifth flight player going 11-2. Strong in doubles, Kulp will also look to build on the success he had playing in pairs last year.
“Josh was very successful for us last season,” Ludwig said. “Once he gets back into playing shape, I see no reason why he cannot repeat last year’s performance.”
Jeff Mansfield hits the court for his junior season looking to grab a spot in the doubles lineup. Teaming up with both Kulp and the since departed Brian Wiesemann, Mansfield combined for a 6-8 doubles record in 2007. The junior will seek to improve upon those marks and have a strong season.
“Jeff was successful for us at third doubles last year,” Ludwig said. “He has a great forehand and a big serve and can definitely win us points in doubles.”
Senior Shawn Holzmann returns for his final campaign in the green and white looking to hold down one of the singles slots.
“Shawn has a solid game that will allow him to compete for court time,” Ludwig said. “Not only that but his leadership, helping the younger guys improve everyday, will be vital to our success.”
Fellow senior Braxton Koppelman returns after sitting out last season and will compete for time in both singles and doubles.
“Braxton has a big, powerful game very suited to doubles play,” Ludwig said. “His ability to hit numerous winners will allow him to battle for one of the doubles spots or even in singles.”
Sophomore Patrick McKee and freshmen Travis Klein and Colin Jones will add depth the Spartan squad. The trio will most likely spend this season adjusting to the collegiate game, making steady improvements that will pay dividends in the future.
“Patrick, Travis, and Colin are each solid players,” Ludwig said. “They just need time to develop. We should see good things from them in the near future.”
Overall, the Spartans seek to get back to their winning ways of 2006 when the team posted a 13-4 record.
“We want to get back to our 2006 form when we won 13 matches,” Ludwig said. “With an upgraded schedule and the type of talent and experience that we have, this goal is well within our reach. This season should be very exciting.”
The Spartans open their 2008 campaign traveling to Hilton Head,
SC. The Spartans are scheduled to play five matches during their
stay, kicking off the year against Mercyhurst on Sunday, February