Coming off a state championship season, hopes, and expectations for that matter, are again high for the New Canaan High School boys tennis team, as the Rams embark on the 2010 season.

The Rams have good reason to believe this could be another special season.

"I think we're as strong -- at least in depth -- as we've ever been, and that's saying something," said legendary head coach Dan Borgman, adding that the program has captured 25 state titles throughout the years.

The Rams lost only to Greenwich and non-conference foe Fairfield Prep last year en route to the Class L state title. The team will have to overcome the loss of graduates Andrew Hornblower and Sam Rashin, who paired to form the No. 1 doubles team. That's no small hole to fill but, otherwise, the Rams are experienced up and down the lineup.

The No. singles player, Ben Lee, a senior captain, is back at his position atop the lineup.

"I think a lot of players, including myself, realized their full potential," Lee, who reached the semifinals of the Class L tournament and State Open, said of last season.

Lee is headed to the University of Louisiana Lafayette to play Division I tennis in the fall and hopes to finish out his high school career on a high note.

"I'm really looking forward to the season. I really want to make my mark in the FCIAC and in the state," he said.

And Lee is hopeful the Rams can make their mark in the FCIAC against Greenwich, the lone conference rival to defeat his squad.

Also in the singles lineup are junior Chase Urban, senior captain Kevin Budrawich and sophomore Nick Laub. Laub surprised a few teams last season, and he could be the player that tilts the scale New Canaan's way in a few matches this season. When Borgman spoke about the team's depth, Laub could be the prime example; many teams simply don't have someone play that far down in the singles lineup that compares to him.

Candidates to play singles, as the preseason winded down, include juniors Steve Evans and Connor Headley, and freshman Will Berger.

Other players who figure to compete in singles or doubles include sophomore Patrick Newton, juniors Jacob Reiss and Luke McDermott, senior Peter Huff, and freshmen Tim Casavant, Devin McVeigh and Tom Worcester.

The Rams, as tough as they have been at the state level, have not won an FCIAC crown since the middle-1990s, Borgman said.

"Winning a title this year would imply not just overcoming the best team in the conference (Greenwich) but also the best in the state," Borgman said. Greenwich has won five straight Class LL crowns. Greenwich has become Borgman's white whale, in a sense.

The Rams won't face Greenwich until the third-to-last scheduled match of the campaign, a May 14 home clash with the Cardinals at 4 p.m. Until then, the challenge may be to focus each match individually, something that many players and coaches in many sports preach, but is often hard to overcome.