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Young Talent Looks to Lead Lafayette Tennis

Feb. 9, 2018

EASTON, Pa. -- The Lafayette men's and women's tennis team begins action in the coming days.

Lafayette head men's and women's tennis coach Ralph Van Ormer enters his third season. After bringing his first recruiting class to campus, he has high expectations for each team headed into 2018.

"I expect our teams to compete at a high level in every match which will allow us to improve our win totals from last season," Van Ormer said.

Van Ormer continues to change the culture of both programs by bringing in recruits that can be plugged into the lineup right away. Six freshmen, with three on the women's side and three on the men's side, are expected to see time early in the lineup for the Maroon and White.

"By recruiting these high-level players, it not only helps us this season but will have a positive impact on the program for the future," Van Ormer said.

Leading the charge for each side will be seniors Mason Keel and Chris Kim for the men and sophomore Meredith Block for the women.

Below is a full breakdown of the 2018 editions of Lafayette men's and women's tennis.

MEN

Seniors Keel and Kim look to lead a young Leopards team for the second straight season. After having a strong freshman season, Blake Oslan will man the No. 1 singles spot for the Maroon and White as they open their season.

"Olsan is our outstanding player, who has produced a lot of good victories against our opponents last spring and even this fall," Van Ormer said.

Behind Oslan are freshmen John Yurconic, Daniel Kramer and Brandt Baldwin who will man the second, third and fourth positions. Junior Matthew DeBenedetto will be slotted in the fifth position, while Keel rounds out the Leopards' lineup in the sixth position.

Van Ormer is looking forward to seeing the men compete at a high level this season even with a tough schedule ahead of them. He has seen an overall team improvement from last season.

"The three freshmen from the fall have shown great improvement, especially John Yurconic who had some significant victories in the fall to earn himself the second spot," Van Ormer said.

The doubles pairings will likely be Oslan and Keel at the top spot, followed by Kim and Kramer, and lastly DeBenedetto and Yurconic.

"These pairings are not set in place as they may change from match to match as we deal with injuries and giving our guys the best matchups," Van Ormer said.

WOMEN

With junior captain Haley Matthes studying abroad this semester, Block will be taking over leadership duties for a young Leopards team. They will have a lot of new faces for 2018 with the addition of five freshmen. Van Ormer is projecting to have three of them in the lineup.

Freshmen Cecelia Lesnick and Samantha Snyder will man the top two slots for the Maroon and White. Sophomore Grace Conrad is slotted in the third position with freshmen Alexa Cooke set to take over the fourth spot. Block and fellow sophomore Katie Hill round out the Leopards' lineup in the fifth and sixth positions.

"I'm looking for the freshmen at the one and two spots to put us in a really good position," Van Ormer said, "They give us a really good chance at a winning season."

As for the doubles parings, the freshman duo of Lesnick and Snyder will lead it off, followed by the sophomore pair of Block and Conrad. Cooke and Hill will play together in the third and final pairing.

SEASON OPENER

The men get their season underway on Saturday against Wagner at Northwood Racquet Club at 3:30 p.m. The women's team begins their season one week later against Saint Peter's.