Tennis looks to rebound after weekend losses

The tennis program is just settling into its fall season, with the men’s and the women’s tennis teams traveling to opposite ends of the country.

In a couple of early season tournaments, both teams saw some individual successes but were sent home with some key losses.

The Eli men defeated Georgetown 4-3 but suffered two team losses against their Ancient Eight foes Princeton and Columbia at the ECAC Invitational in Flushing, N.Y.

“We were expected [to beat the Hoyas],” Mike Caldwell ’09 said. “We lost our doubles points and were expected to win the match easier. Winning doubles would have been a good way to do that.”

With a win under their belts, the Bulldogs looked ahead to the Tigers, who eventually lost only to Penn State in the Championship match. The Elis lost their doubles matchup against Princeton as well and fell 5-2 to their tough Ivy League opponents.

The lone Yale victories came from No. 2 Jeff Dawson ’09 and No. 5 Calvin Bennett ’11 in singles competition. Captain Rory Green ’08 said the loss of the doubles points was crucial against Princeton.

“It’s important to get the doubles points before you play singles,” he said. “We lost a tight match, missing a few points here and there. [The loss] affected the team, but we saw some good performances. It came down to the wire and a few matches decided it.”

The Bulldogs’ last match at the invitational resulted in a 4-3 loss to Columbia in the consolation match on Sunday. The competition was decided by Tom Santoro’s ’09 match against rookie Kevin Kung, which Santoro eventually lost in three sets.

The Elis were not able to hold on to a 3-0 lead against Columbia. The Lions came back from behind to knock the Bulldogs out of the race.

“It’s early in the season and we don’t have our doubles sorted out yet,” Caldwell said. “It’s a matter of playing a lot of matches to play competitively this season and into next spring.”

On the other side of the country, the women’s team sent three players to UCLA to compete in the All-American tournament. L.A. native Lauren Ritz ’11 and Lindsay Clark ’11 took on the University of Texas, Texas Christian University and California Poly-San Luis Obispo as a doubles team.

Janet Kim ’09 represented the Elis as a singles player. Kim’s loss to Whitney Peterson from Cal Poly in three eliminated her from the tournament.

Ritz and Clark made it to the quarterfinals of the doubles competition after beating both opponents from the Lone Star State 8-2 and 8-4 but eventually suffered an 8-0 loss at the hands of the Mustangs’ doubles team.

“[Cal Poly] was definitely a tough team with a little more experience playing together,” Clark said. “They were an established upperclassman doubles team and we’re just starting off but, we hope to become a strong doubles team with more experience.”

The freshmen were paired up at the beginning of the year and have played in just one other tournament together. Both players said going up against some veterans in the All-American tournament this weekend would be a good sign for this young team.

“We’re getting to know how each other plays and I think it’s a matter of time to be able to think with each other,” Ritz said. “I definitely see us improving everyday and I’m excited to see what spring brings for us.”

The men’s team will next head to the Army Invitational at West Point on Oct. 13-14. The women will travel to Flushing to compete in the USTA Invitational from Oct. 5-7.

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