The Yale men’s tennis team opened its spring season matches on a low note, falling 6-1 to No. 65 North Carolina State Feb. 4 at the University’s Cullman Courts.
Milosz Gudzowski ’06 at No. 3 singles was the only Bulldog to take down a member of the Wolfpack, defeating opponent Will Shaw 6-3, 6-4.
“I thought I played a great match, [but] I was a little disappointed that the team didn’t win,” said Gudzowski. “We had a good shot at beating them although we lost last year 7-0.”
North Carolina took four of its five singles wins in straight sets. Besides Gudzowski, only No. 1 singles player Brandon Wai ’07, who opened 6-1 against opponent Conor Taylor, took a set against the Wolfpack.
While the Bulldogs had the home court advantage, several factors including Wai’s flu, captain Ryan Murphy’s ’05 recent food poisoning, and Rowan Reynolds’ ’06 knee and hip problems hindered the team.
“We had an off day, we weren’t 100 percent, they’re a good team and good teams will beat you if you’re not ready to get after it,” said Reynolds. “The result wasn’t what we were looking for.”
No. 4 singles player Rory Green ’08 said nerves were a significant factor for him. Green, who lost 6-1, 6-2 to NCSU’s Andre Iriarte, said he felt pressured because the contest with N.C. State was his first real match this season.
“I think everyone was expecting me to be nervous,” he said. “I didn’t really step up.”
Green said he was especially disappointed because he felt his opponent was not much better than him, despite the convincing score.
“I felt fine so I had no excuses,” said Green. “I’m hoping if I get a chance to play next week, I can put less pressure on myself and enjoy it more.”
Lack of experience this season might have affected the outcome of Friday’s match, said some of the players.
NC State, now 7-0 this spring, had six wins under its belt coming into the match, three of which were shutouts. Their high success level may have contributed to their toughness, said Green.
Similarly, Reynolds said he and partner Chris Lawler ’07 failed in doubles partly because of lack of practice due to Reynolds’ injuries.
“[We] had some good moments, but we haven’t practiced enough together,” he said.
In addition to their singles wins, the Wolfpack also dominated the Elis in three doubles matches to earn the doubles point.
No. 1 doubles team Murphy and Wai were closest to a win, but fell 8-6 to NCSU’s Shaw and Nick Cavaday.
Despite Friday’s loss, the Elis have a promising season ahead of them, said coach Alex Dorato.
“I think everyone is going to improve, and by Ivy season if not sooner, we’ll be playing very well,” he said.