1996 Boston College Men's Tennis Season Outlook
A core of talented young players will lead the Boston College tennis team onto the courts in 1996-97.
The Eagles will be looking to improve on last season's 11-16 overall record and seventh-place finish at the BIG EAST Championships, under the direction of first-year head coach Nigel Bentley. Bentley begins his second season at The Heights, after serving as an assistant coach for Mark Burns in 1995-96.
This year's singles line-up will likely be comprised of mostly first and second-year performers.
"The nucleus of this team is freshmen and sophomores," Bentley explains.
"Even though we have a very young team, I do not want approach this season as a building year," Bentley says.
"These guys have a lot of potential and are going to gain a lot of experience right away. As the season goes on and the young players get some matches under their belts, I feel that the overall talent level of this team will increase and make us very competitive," Bentley adds.
Sophomore Christian Frahm will inherit the number one singles spot when the 1996-97 campaign gets under way. Frahm's 13-12 record of a year ago was the second best on the team in 1995-96 and is tops among the returnees. He spent most of last season at the fourth and fifth positions, but played as high as number three.
"We are going to need Christian to step up," Bentley says. "He has really big weapons in his serve and forehand, which will help him to settle into the number one spot."
Anand Annigeri and Nikolas Smith, a pair of freshmen, will occupy the second and third singles positions respectively.
Annigeri, who hails from Manchester, Conn., possesses a solid serve and volley game. Prior to attending BC, he held a top 15 singles ranking in New England.
Smith, a native of Tucson, Ariz., brings a big serve to The Heights. Last year, he broke his high school's record for most wins in one season after posting a 24-3 singles mark.
"Anand and Nik are going to make a major impact in both singles and doubles," Bentley says.
"Having two freshmen of their caliber in our line-up adds depth to our team," he explains.
Sophomore Chris Amundsen, junior John Brennan and senior captain Tim Smith will likely occupy the remaining three singles slots.
Amundsen and Brennan both saw significant action in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions in 1995-96, posting 4-19 and 3-9 marks respectively. Smith played number five and six as well last season, compiling a 3-5 record.
"John, Chris and Tim should all benefit from the experience that they gained last year," Bentley says.
Sophomores Toshi Hasegawa and Dan Swanstrom could also break into the singles line-up as the season progresses. Hasegawa saw limited singles action in 1995-96, going 2-5, while Swanstrom is a first-year player.
In doubles, Bentley expects Annigeri and Amundsen to make up the Eagles' top tandem. Annigeri held the number one doubles ranking in New England before coming to BC. Amundsen was 9-16 in doubles last season, including an 8-8 mark at number two.
"Chris is an exceptional doubles player. Pairing him with Annand, who has a strong net game, gives us a formidable team at number one doubles," Bentley explains.
Bentley also sees a potential number two team in Frahm and Nikolas Smith. Frahm put together a 5-4 record last year. Smith is also a skilled doubles player. As a junior in high school, he captured the Arizona state doubles championship.
Hasegawa, Swanstrom and Tim Smith, as well as senior Dustin Rawlin and freshman Peter Fleming, could all see significant playing time in doubles competition.
"With all of the young talent that we have, the future of this tennis program is definitely bright," Bentley says.
"Some of our players are going to have some learning experiences this season, but I really feel that with the depth in our line-up we have a chance to improve on what we did last year," Bentley adds.