Men’s Tennis Hopes Young Roster Leads to Success


Brian Hodgkin

Sophomore Callan Louis shows off his forehand during the fall 2013 season. The Yeomen open their season on Feb. 8 at Wabash College.

Hannah Christiansen

The new-look men’s tennis team starts its spring season this weekend against the Wabash College Little Giants. The Yeomen appear poised to improve upon their 9–13 record from last year.

The team is much younger this year than it has been in the past. There is only one senior on the roster this year, Charlie Marks, who will serve as one of the two team captains alongside junior Soren Zeliger.

Marks has compiled 29 singles and 29 doubles wins during his career. Zeliger will also bring winning experience to the young squad, with 24 singles victories and 21 doubles wins in his time at Oberlin.

Despite the relative inexperience of the team outside of Zeliger and Marks, second-year Head Coach Eric Ishida doesn’t anticipate an apparent lack of experience being an issue.

“Honestly, we have not had any challenges with adjusting to having so many freshmen on the team,” said Ishida. “Our older players do a good job of teaching and guiding, and our freshmen are talented players; they get it pretty quickly. I don’t think of them as freshmen, which I think means we recruited the right students.”

First-years Abe Davis, Ian Paik, Paul Farah and Jeremy Lichtmacher are all expected to be in the mix for spots in both singles and doubles lineups. Fellow first-year Lucas Brown is shaking off some nagging injuries but is expected to be equally competitive once he has healed.

“For me, the biggest thing through the fall was getting match experience,” said Lichtmacher. “Because the team has so many freshmen and so much inexperience, it’s nice to have gotten to play competitively and take that into the season.”

Through the fall, the team worked on their athleticism and added extra running and lifting sessions. “I think the team is faster, stronger and more explosive,” Ishida said. “The guys are working hard off the court, and that is leading to more confidence on the court.”

“I’m just excited to get going,” said Marks, who missed the fall season while studying abroad. “It’s been awesome to get to play with our freshmen so far, and we have a lot of potential. We’re a full team and we’re competing in practice every day so, going into matches, I’m excited to compete and get some wins.”

Sophomore Callan Louis will be another impactful player for the Yeomen. The 2013 North Coast Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year, Louis won 15 singles victories, playing for most of the year in the No. 1 singles spot.

The Yeomen will have to rebuild their impressive doubles tandem of Marks and Ben Turchin, OC ‘13, who graduated this December and is now with the team as an assistant coach. The duo compiled 11 wins playing in the No.1 doubles spot. Marks expects to play with Louis to start off the season.

While they may be young, the Yeomen spent their fall season competing at a high level and they are ready to take to the court for their competitive spring season. “We have a very tough schedule this year, including several regionally and nationally ranked teams,” said Ishida. “We will have to look at the positives from each match and look forward to the next one. I wanted to create a schedule that will challenge us and allow us to continually raise our standards throughout the season.”

The Yeomen finished eighth in the conference last season. “If we come out positive and compete hard, we have a chance to be in the mix of the top teams,” said Marks. “We open against Wabash [College] who came in fifth last year so that will be a good test of our progress.”

The Yeomen split against Wabash last year, winning 5–4 in the regular season before falling to the same score in the playoffs. “I’m also really excited to play Allegheny [College],” Marks added. “We lost a very close match to them last year and we haven’t in my time beaten them, so I would be very excited to win that match.”

This season will certainly be a test for the team, but the players are confident that the coaching of Ishida has prepared them for the tough road ahead.

“Coach Ishida has been doing a really good job of keeping us calm right now,” Marks said.

The Yeomen will open the home portion of their season on Feb. 15 when they take on the Otterbein University Cardinals.