PALATINE HILL -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers get their fall season started this weekend with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northwest Regional in Newberg, Ore. Now in the second year with Jimmy Chau leading the program, the Pioneers look to integrate some newcomers into a program with a strong upperclassmen presence.
Three seniors return to the roster this season. Brendan Adams has the most career singles matches under his belt including a 7-8 mark last season. The team captain this year, Adams is seeking to parlay his strong summer workout regimen into an outstanding senior year. Ryan Hayes competed in a career-high 16 matches last season. Entering his senior season in the best shape of his career, Hayes will look to continue the momentum he built up at the end of last year when he won three straight entering the regular-season finale. Will McDermott was one of three nine-match winners for the Pios. Much like Hayes, McDermott won a stretch of six singles pairings in a row during the middle part of the season. Behind the Attia brothers, McDermott and Adams paired for nine doubles wins a season ago.
Ramez Attia returns from the aforementioned brothers pair. Attia will be the leader on the court for the Pioneers and is likely to compete as the team's No. 1 singles student-athlete. As a sophomore, Attia went 8-7 and played primarily in the team's third spot. Coach Chau hopes that Attia's confidence and fearlessness will rub off on the incoming class. Riley Vickers was 9-6 last season and also had a six-match winning streak. Returning in tremendous shape, Vickers is poised for the best season of his collegiate career and will be a tough out at any spot in the lineup.
Without a sophomore class, the Pioneers will seek a boost from their three freshmen. Alberto dos Santos brings some great tools from his time at IMG Academy. The confident freshman is looking to prove that he can go toe-to-toe with the best in the conference. A national tournament competitor in Macau, dos Santos picked Lewis & Clark because of the education and sports. Shane Lynette is from Bellingham, Wash. where he was a four-time state finals qualifier. A shotmaker with an all-court game, Lynette should have an immediate impact for the Pios. Kristian Peev won an Oregon state championship his senior year out Tigard, Ore. (Valley Cathloc High School) after a runner-up finish during his junior season. Peev's work ethic will be immediately noticeable and set a precedent for all future classes.
The fall schedule mostly consists of the ITA Northwest Regional, which this year is hosted by George Fox. The four-day event starts on Sept. 20 that sends its winners to the ITA Small College Championships. Last year, Attia advanced with his brother, Raed Attia, to the quarterfinals of the main doubles bracket.
Lewis & Clark has one more event, a non-conference home dual with Willamette, scheduled on Sept. 28.