June 7, 2006
BALTIMORE, Md. - With just one senior on the roster, the Loyola College men's tennis team began the 2005-2006 season with a chance to build for the future. With three freshmen and four sophomores, Coach Rick McClure had the nucleus to form a team which could use the season to springboard into experience in the future.
Led by captains Scott Gannon and Ben Epstein, the Greyhounds opened the season with three wins in their first five dual matches, including a pair of victories against local rival Morgan State University. After a brief two-match losing skid, the Greyhounds continued their non-conference success with three victories in their next four matches.
After a loss to Hofstra on March 30, the Greyhounds entered the bulk of their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule and while the youth held the Greyhounds to just one league win, it gave the squad a glimpse into the competition the players should expect to see over the next several years. Loyola's lone league win came on April 17 in a tough 4-3 victory over Saint Peter's College. Sophomore Chad Morrow provided the heroics for the Greyhounds, breaking a 3-3 tie with a victory at number 4 singles.
The Greyhounds were unable to build upon that victory, dropping their final two matches of the year, including a MAAC quarterfinal defeat to conference finalist Marist College.
Freshman Sean Wall led the team with 12 singles wins in his first campaign with Loyola while Gannon tallied 11 victories as both players spent at number 1 singles. Gannon was the team's primary number 2 singles player while Wall ended the year in the number 3 position. Wall finished with a 12-8 record and Gannon earned wins in 11 of 19 singles matches.
Playing primarily at number 1 singles, Epstein earned nine victories at the top spot for the Greyhounds, including a pair of victories at the D.C. Metro Tournament in September. In his two seasons at Evergreen, Epstein has earned 26 victories in singles competition.
Gannon and Epstein were not just the team's captains, but they were also a formidable duo on the doubles court. The pair of sophomores teamed up to win 10 doubles matches as the Greyhounds' top team. After two years of collegiate competition, Gannon has 25 doubles victories while Epstein has 20 doubles wins. Morrow and Wall compiled an 11-9 record as Loyola's number 2 doubles team, including a 3-4 mark in conference play.
Fellow rookie Sean Kraft teamed up with freshman Tom Kelly and sophomore Rob McAward during the season and had eight combined wins at number 3 doubles. In addition, Kraft had a very strong first year in singles competition by earning eight victories, giving McClure even more to look forward to during the upcoming years.
The seven underclassmen will provide guidance for 10 freshmen, who will make their Loyola debut for the 2006-2007 season. Without a single senior on the squad, the 2006-2007 season could again provide a look into a very bright future for Loyola College men's tennis.