A loss to third-seeded Pennsylvania State on the second day of the East Coast Athletic Conference Tournament forced the sixth-seeded Yale men’s tennis team to pack its bags a day earlier than it would have liked this weekend.
“I didn’t think that Penn State was that great, and a lot of us had off days,” Andrew Rosenfeld ’04 said. “Losing to Penn State was a real disappointment.”
The tournament, which took place at the United States Tennis Association National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows in New York City, proved to be a disappointing one for the Elis, who had hoped to face Harvard in the finals of their first team tournament.
Yale started the weekend strong, defeating 11th-seeded Boston College on the first day of the tournament 7-0. But a disappointing 5-2 loss on Saturday put the Bulldogs in the back-draw. The Elis still managed to eke out a fifth place finish with a 4-3 win over Columbia.
“[Boston College] wasn’t very good, and they didn’t give us much of a challenge,” Chris Lawler ’07 said. “We played pretty well, but we weren’t playing extremely well, so we weren’t prepared for what Penn State was going to bring. We didn’t go out there with the intensity we needed.”
Though the Nittany Lions are a strong team, the Bulldogs felt that Penn State was not invincible. A win would have given Yale a place in the semifinals.
The Bulldogs moved to the back-draw on Sunday, facing a different set of Lions in Columbia. Winning all three doubles matches and Nos. 1, 2 and 3 singles, Yale captured fifth place. The close battle came down to a tight match between No. 1 Rosenfeld and Columbia’s Akshay Rao for the deciding point. Tied 3-3 in the third set, Rosenfeld pulled through to win it, 6-4.
“[Rosenfeld] was able to come back, saving two match points,” Lawler said. “It was pretty incredible.”
Rosenfeld also competed against Rao in last week’s Yale Invitational, defeating him in straight sets to win first place in the tournament.
The 16 competing teams included all of the Ancient Eight and eight other East Coast schools. Each team fielded six singles players and three doubles pairs. The tournament marked the first time Yale competed as a team. Before this weekend, the players competed for individual records only.
“[The tournament] was very good for the team because I think it brings out the best in the players,” Dorato said.
With just one tournament left this fall, the Bulldogs are concentrating on strengthening the team for next spring. This fall’s lineup may change drastically because a few players, including captain David Goldman ’04, are out with injuries.
But the team foresees a good spring season and has been satisfied with its play.
“I think we’re going to be really good,” head coach Alex Dorato said. “On Saturday we lost, but we went out and fixed our mistakes Sunday.”
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