BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford men's tennis team will begin the spring portion of its 2017-18 season Saturday against Waynesburg.
The Panthers played four non-conference matches this fall and head into the spring in search of their first victory.
Pitt-Bradford is led by Head Coach Susan Schenfield, who founded both the Panthers men's and women's tennis programs in 2008.
"The 2018 men's tennis team features a mix of experience with our returners and young players that focus on the moment," Schenfield said. "We have a very young team this year, with seven new faces to replace the seven top players we lost from last season. From what I saw from the fall tournaments, I think we can be more successful than last season."
Pitt-Bradford is looking to improve upon a 2-8 overall finish and a 1-4 record against Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponents last season.
"These guys will provide experience and a contagious positive spirit," Schenfield said of her returners. "With their great work ethic, they know what to expect and will be the shoulders the rest of the team will stand on."
Panthers newcomers are Jacob Volz (Olean, N.Y.), Jeffrey Kocjancic (Kane, Pa.), Noah Magill (Punxsutawney, Pa.), Matthew Gram (Lancaster, N.Y.), Colby Mills (Grafton, W.Va.), David Ta (Collegeville, Pa.) and Mario Tang (China).
"Those that were with us all played well in our fall season and collected some wins," Schenfield said. "With only three returners and six positions to fill, each of the young Panthers will have the chance to compete for a starting role."
Schenfield shows great confidence in her roster this season.
"Depth is one of our biggest strengths this year," she said. "We are stronger towards the bottom of our lineup and have three solid doubles teams. The amount of competitive spirit they have is going to be a huge bonus for us—this will be an important piece of the puzzle."
After Saturday's match against Waynesburg, the Panthers will host Alfred on Friday, Feb. 23.
Pitt-Bradford will then play conference opponents in its final five matches of the season.
The Panthers will host Penn State-Altoona (March 17) and Mount Aloysius (March 24) and travel to Penn State-Behrend (March 18), Franciscan (April 6) and Pitt-Greensburg (April 7).
"Our conference is getting much stronger," Schenfield concluded. "There isn't any match or team that we can take for granted. We need not look forward to certain opponent or date on the calendar. We need to stay in every point and finish each and every point. If we do this, we will be successful."