By Anne Bello
Published Sep 28, 2009 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated Sep 9, 2010 at 6:48 PM ET

saintlawrenceCanton, NY — Amherst, Hamilton, and Middlebury are among the teams who identified St. Lawrence as a key match-up this season. After finishing 15th last season, the Saints are a prime target for teams looking to break into and move up in the B Division. But with all but one player from their championship roster returning and the addition of skilled first-year players, the Saints will be a tough team to get by.

Competition within the Saints’ lineup should be stiff as well. “We have 5 or 6 new players that will be battling for a position in our top 9,” writes head coach Chris Abplanalp.  “We only graduated one senior so there will be some good competition.  A few players that I expect to make an immediate impact in the line-up include Amay Merchant, Russell Woeltz, and Roger Miller.  DJ Brinkworth is another first-year player that will be fighting for a spot in the top nine.”

Other changes should help strengthen the team. Marty Clark, the former US champion who was a standout player at Harvard,  will be joining the staff as an assistant coach. Clark works as an orthopedic surgeon in a local hospital and will be working with both the men’s and women’s squads. The Saints will also have the benefit of practicing on the new glass court that was put in towards the end of last year.

The Saints will be tested early in the season, as they’ll face Williams, Navy, and Liberty League competitor Rochester before winter break. Abplanalp says the team also looks forward to having tough matches with F&M, Bates, Bowdoin, and steadily improving Middlebury later on. “Every match will be big for us,” he says.  “It should be a great season.”

2008-2009 Season Recap

SEASON RECORD: 11-8
FINAL RANKING: 15th
NATIONAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: 15th; 7th in Hoehn Cup (B Division)

2009-2010 Season Preview

Returning Players from Team Championships: Alex Dodge ’11 (1); Jermaine Xaba ’12 (2); Nick Pearson ’10 (3); Scott Phillips ’12 (4); Tyler Stout ’11 (6); Michael Baladi ’12 (7); Thomas Kraft ’12 (8); Adam Pistel ’12 (9)

Graduating Players from Team Championships: Scott Redpath (5)

Additions for the 2009-2010 Roster: Amay Merchant, Russell Woeltz, Roger Miller, and  DJ Brinkworth

Captain: Nick Pearson

Team Goals: To continue to improve team ranking

Key Matches: Liberty League Championships, Williams, Navy, F&M, Bates, Bowdoin, and Middlebury

To read other team previews, please visit the 2009 – 2010 College Squash Preview Page.