The defending Class L State Champion New Canaan boys tennis team is looking to pick up right where it left off in 2011, a season that culminated with the Rams as the No. 1 team in the state.

Longtime coach Dan Borgman sounded optimistic about his team's chances to do just that.

"We look pretty strong. We've got a good returning group. We have nobody new except for a few returning JV players," Borgman said. "We lost a few players, but everybody has moved up, and they all look better this year. They don't just want to make the team; they want to make it to a higher spot. They've worked hard. I can see it in their play and their attitude."

While the varsity lineup naturally saw some changes from last season to this one, senior captain and No. 1 singles player Nick Laub is confident that the Rams have all the pieces in place to again be one of the most talented teams in the FCIAC and in the state.

"Our strength has always been our depth," Laub said. "This year's a little different because we've got an older team, but we're probably better towards the front of the lineup. We've got some junior and sophomores who are going to step up, and it's going to be fun to see how they develop."

While always subject to some tweaking, the varsity lineup is penciled in with Laub at the top singles spot, Will Burger at No. 2 singles, Tommy Worcester at No. 3 singles, Devin McVeigh at No. 4 singles and Tim Casavant at No. 5 singles.

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At doubles, the top team is senior captain Patrick Newton and Jacob Reiss. Luke McDermott will play No. 2 doubles, but his partner is expected to be very subject to change. John Howard, Spencer Lamdin, Andrew Penchuk and Digby Phipott are also in the mix for playing time.

"We're out here with a positive attitude. We're going to need some kids to step up because we lost some good players from last year," Newton said. "I think we have a great shot at winning states and FCIACs this year; we're just going to have to work hard for it like we always do."

New Canaan began its season with a 7-0 win at home over Weston on April 4. Some marquee matchups for the Rams include April 19 at home against Greenwich, April 23 on the road at Darien and May 15 on the road against Staples, which is also the regular season finale.

"There are probably five or six matchups that I have circled on my calendar. We play these guys all year round. Going into every season, you want to definitely go for a state and FCIAC championship," Laub said. "We're going for our fourth state championship in a row. So, for us seniors, we haven't really known anything else. We know there's going to be some great competition."

jchik@bcnnew.com