Entering the final weekend of the season, the men’s tennis team hoped to finish strong and possibly play the spoiler as they faced top-ranked Harvard and Dartmouth.
The Bulldogs (11-11, 0-7 Ivy) dropped both matches 5-2, completing a defeated Ivy League season.
Things started off well for the Elis on Friday. Both the first doubles team of David Goldman ’04 and Ryan Murphy ’05 and the third team of Chris Shackelton ’02 and Andrew Rosenfeld ’03 won 8-5, securing a team point against their Crimson competitors.
Harvard, however, was just too strong in singles play as they won five of the six matches. Only Murphy at the top spot could pull out a victory for the Bulldogs, beating David Lingman 6-2, 6-7, 6-3.
“Their guys truly beat us,” Murphy said. “They are definitely the best team we faced in the Ivy League this year.”
On Sunday, Yale hoped to end the season on a positive note against visiting Dartmouth, but it just wasn’t to be.
Shackelton and Rosenfeld again won their doubles match, but Goldman and Murphy faltered in the tiebreak at No. 1 and fell 8-8 (7-5), giving the Big Green the doubles point. Ryan Coyle ’02 and Dustin West ’03 lost the other doubles match.
Murphy once again led the Eli recovery as he pulled out another three set win, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. At the sixth spot, Ryan Coyle ’02 won his last match in a thriller 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
Once again though, Yale just couldn’t quite finish as both No. 2 Rosenfeld and No. 5 Shackelton, the team captain, lost in the third set giving Dartmouth the 5-2 win.
The team was disheartened in both the weekend’s results and with the end of their season.
“It was a real disappointment to go 0-7 in the Ivy League,” Coyle said. “We showed a lot of heart and fought hard even though we couldn’t win a match.”
“We’re all just really frustrated,” added Murphy. “We thought we were good enough to win the Ivy League but we just couldn’t put it together.”
Not everything was negative for the Bulldogs though.
“Ryan Murphy was a bright spot for us this weekend, with two wins, but also all year,” Coyle said. “No one thought he would do as well as he did when he was thrust into the No. 1 spot — and he responded for us.”
The team also feels that despite the bad year, things bode well for the future.
“Other than the Ivy League, we had a good year,” head coach Alex Dorato said. “We were ranked in the top 50 in the nation for most of the year and might still finish in the top 75. Next year we should be in the thick of things with a good recruiting class as well as four of our top six players returning.”