The men’s tennis team will be able to start its Ivy League season on a high note after dominating Manhattan College on Saturday.
Throughout an afternoon interrupted by rain, the Bulldogs (7-6) were able to take advantage of the weaknesses of the Manhattan College Jaspers (4-6), coming out on top, 6-1. The Bulldogs entered the match knowing their performance at the last competition before the start of Ivy League play, which begins Friday against Penn, would figure greatly in their hopes of vying for the league title.
“I think this was great preparation for the Ivy League,” Chris Lawler ’07 said. “Penn’s one of the top programs in the league right now, so we’ve got to be strong for them.”
No. 1 singles seed Brandon Wai ’07 — currently ranked No. 90 in the nation — led the Bulldogs with a victory over Manhattan’s Bogdan Borta 6-4, 6-4. Wai’s consistency and leadership have been dependable hallmarks of this season and have drawn praise from his teammates.
“I don’t have to be humble about Brandon Wai,” captain Matt Feldman ’06 said. “He is the best player in the Ivy League, and it’s a privilege to have him on our team. Going into a match with Brandon on our team gives us confidence, and that’s exactly what we need going into the Penn match.”
No. 2 seed Milosz Gudzowski ’06 ran into difficulties against Manhattan’s Peter Czink, losing a tough tiebreaker in the first set and then falling 6-2 in the second. But Gudzowski and doubles partner Lawler prevailed in their No. 3 doubles match, 8-5, as did Wai and partner Michael Caldwell ’09, who executed an 8-3 victory over the Jaspers. First doubles partners Rory Green ’08 and Rowan Reynolds ’06 made good use of their venomous volleys and serves to come out on top over Czink and Borta, 8-4.
The other Yale singles players performed with confidence to prevail over the remaining Jaspers. Jeff Dawson ’09 battled back from a 2-6 first set showing to win the second and third sets, 6-2, 6-2. Caldwell came off a close tiebreaker win in the first set to shut out opponent Diego Alvarado 6-0 in the second set. Green and Reynolds also emerged victorious.
Manhattan assessed itself realistically after the match.
“I like these courts, and I really liked the game my opponent played,” said Czink, who earned the Jaspers’ only win. “But we have two injuries, and we’re having bad luck this semester.”
Manhattan head coach Arthur Bobko also praised Yale’s play.
“Yale was the better team in the close points,” he said. “We’ve struggled with some injuries, but we can’t take anything away from Yale — we love to play with them.”
Nearly all the Bulldogs faced deficits early on in their matches but were able to hit their strides and come back aggressively.
“We started off a little slow, since we haven’t played a match since spring break, but by the end we settled down and played well,” Lawler said, referring to his doubles match.
Yale head coach Alex Dorato is optimistic for the start of league play but said how the Elis fare away from New Haven will be crucial.
“I think this is a very good sign,” he said. “This was a very good team, and we beat them solidly. The biggest challenge is that we have to play well on the road. Our three toughest opponents will all be on the road.”
The Bulldogs will take on the Ivy League for the first time this season next weekend when they travel to challenge Penn at 2 p.m. on Friday and Princeton at noon on Saturday.