A week after they suffered tough losses against Drake and Minnesota, the men’s tennis team came back this weekend with a shutout against Army. The women’s team traveled down south to North Carolina, where they lost to two ranked opponents.
During their trip to West Point on Saturday, the Yale men (1-2) bowled over Army (1-2) in a 7-0 shutout, winning all but one singles match in straight sets and sweeping the doubles matches. In Raleigh and Durham, the Bulldog women (1-4) lost by identical scores of 6-1 to North Carolina State (4-2) on Saturday in Raleigh and then to Duke (2-1) on Sunday in Durham.
The Eli men, including captain and No. 1 Brandon Wai ’07, No. 2 Michael Caldwell ’09 and No. 3 Jeff Dawson ’09, ran away with singles victories while coming back from early deficits to win their doubles matches. At the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles spots, Wai, with Rory Green ’08, and Dawson, with Josh Lederman ’09, bounced back from 4-0 and 3-0 deficits, respectively, to come out on top.
“After a slow start in doubles, the players rose to the occasion,” coach Alex Dorato said. “Everyone played very well. Rory had a slow start in singles dropping the first set, but he also finished strong taking the next two 6-1, 6-0.”
After being defeated twice the previous weekend, the Elis were eager to come back with a win and hopefully set a precedent for the rest of the season.
“We came into Army very confident and focused after the trip to Minnesota,” Dawson said. “We had something to prove after feeling that we should have gone 2-0 the weekend prior. Bottom line was that we were ready to play, as we will be for the rest of the season.”
The Yale women struggled against two ranked opponents this weekend and were unable to come away with a win. First, on Saturday, the Bulldogs went up against No. 44 North Carolina State in a tough matchup. At the top of the Bulldog lineup, No. 1 Janet Kim ’09 lost to N.C. State’s Danic Petrovic, 6-4, 6-4, and No. 2 Jessica Rhee ’10 fell to Catherine Gotz, 6-1, 2-6, 6-0. Freshman and No. 3 singles player Sarah Lederhandler strung out a three-set victory, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2, while Rhee and Christine Alford ’07 narrowly lost at No. 2 doubles, 9-7.
“I was fighting really hard and so I pulled out the second set in a tough tiebreaker,” said Lederhandler. “Although I learned mid-game that they had won the overall match, I didn’t let that affect my play and won the third set.”
The next day, the Bulldogs were outdone by No. 11 Duke, losing all but one of their matches. Alford endured a brutal three-set match at No. 4 singles to win, 2-6, 6-4, 10-8. Although they lost to both the Wolfpack and the Blue Devils, the players agreed it was a crucial opportunity to play ranked teams, an experience from which the team could benefit in the future.
“This weekend was about putting ourselves up against the big teams,” said Alford. “And although the results seemed one-sided, the matches were really a lot closer than that. Our goal is that by matching it with teams like Duke, and playing the toughest schedule, when we approach lower-ranked teams everything seems easy and it’ll be simply a matter of taking care of business on the court.”
The women’s tennis team will stay at Yale next week to play Boston University in their first home match on Saturday.
On the men’s side, the team will take a week off before hosting Navy and UConn on Feb. 25. The team anticipates that the victory over Army will help the Elis perform well against these upcoming opponents.
“This result has us fired up for all of our matches this year, not only UConn and Navy,” Green said. “Those matches are at home and we are looking to get a streak going heading into Spring Break. The score was 7-0, but had we not fought back so well in the doubles, it may have been a different story. But we fought back and didn’t let up until the job was done.”