TENNIS | Men’s team rebounds while women’s falls

The men’s tennis team rebounded from two close losses last week with a resounding 6–1 victory over the visiting Army Black Knights on Sunday. The women’s team, meanwhile, was unable to defeat highly ranked Vanderbilt. The men’s team is 1–2 overall this spring season, and the women’s team is 4-2.

A few break points were all that had been standing between the men’s team and victories in its dual 4–3 losses to both Boston College and Purdue the previous week. But it did not let another chance go by this weekend.

“I think we had a really good week of practice leading up to our match and felt very confident and prepared,” Daniel Hoffman ’13 said. “This time I felt we were successful because we were able to capitalize on our opportunities.”

At the No. 1 singles, Marc Powers ’13 lost a tough rematch against Asika Isoh 6–7, 4–6. The two faced off against each other at the Army Invitational last October, with Powers winning 7–5, 6–2.

But the Bulldogs responded by winning the next five singles matches.

John Huang ’13 defeated senior Tripp Johnson in straight sets 6–4, 6–3 to capture a victory at No.2 singles, while Hoffman and Blumenkranz both won their matches at the No.3 and No.4 spots, respectively, by 6–1, 6–2. Joel Samaha ’12 defeated Army’s Rashad Shelton with 6–4 victories in both sets and Jordan Abergel ’11 secured the final singles point at No. 6 and dropped only two games against Andrew Clark.

“This past weekend we were hungry to get a win under our belts, and everyone performed,” Abergel said.

For the second week in a row, the Elis won the doubles point. In the season opener against Boston College, Hoffman and Powers lost by the narrow margin of 8–9 and Boston College ended up winning two doubles matches, edging out the Elis for a win.

“We’ve been working on a lot of doubles strategies because winning the doubles point is going to be critical in each Ivy match,” Abergel said. “Our doubles was much better this weekend and we are starting to get into the groove of playing dual matches.”

At No.1 doubles, Hoffman and Powers held off Shelton and Johnson with a 9–8 win. Huang and Samaha easily defeated Henry Jang-Milsten and Robie Verano 8–3. Blumenkranz and Calvin Bennett ’11 lost a closely contested 7–9 match against Clark and Andrew Holland.

The team hopes that the victory against Army will help them get back on the winning track.

“[The victory] is a good first step, but we have to continue improving and are a long way from reaching our goal of an Ivy League championship,” Hoffman said. “Hopefully we can build on this match and start a winning streak.”

The Bulldogs will not face an Ivy League opponent until the first weekend of April with a double-header against Penn and Princeton. For now, the team will focus on its competition this weekend.

“We have a good match coming up against Middle Tennessee State, so we’re going to move on and start getting ready for that,” Blumenkranz said.

The Elis takes on the visiting Blue Raiders this Saturday at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.

The women’s tennis team opened their season with three straight matches against nationally ranked opponents. And after a 1–6 loss against No. 20 Vanderbilt on Saturday, the Bulldogs currently hold a 1–2 record on the season.

The Bulldogs faced a tough Vanderbilt team that defeated two ranked opponents and lost narrowly to No. 9 Clemson University. The Commodores took five singles matches and the doubles competition. Last season, Yale was bested at home by Vanderbilt, ending the Bulldogs’ run of 23 consecutive victories at home.

Captain Stevi Petrelli ’11 accounted for Yale’s sole point by winning her No. 6 singles against Nelly Radeva 6–1, 6–2. At No. 2 singles, Elizabeth Epstein ’13 suffered a tough three-set loss against Alex Leatu. Winning the second set 6–4 after a dropping the first set 5–7, Epstein was edged in the tiebreaker 9–11.

“I’m really impressed by the way we have played,” Lindsay Clark ’11 said. “Every game is a battle and we are prepared for it and I think we are a better team for it. We are not going to let the losses get us down.”

On the doubles side, the duo of Brook and Clark continued their strong performance this season with an 8–5 victory. But Vanderbilt captured the doubles point by winning the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles matches.

Despite the early losses, Brook thinks that the team has learned from playing against ranked opponents. The team kicked off the season Jan. 29 against the then-No. 4 Notre Dame, losing to the Fighting Irish 0–7. But the Elis bounced back the next day with a 5–2 victory against No. 41 Utah.

“In our match against Notre Dame, they played a very aggressive, quick and explosive style,” Brook said. “So we tried to implement that into practices and the matches against Vanderbilt.”

The Bulldogs will take on the visiting Massachusetts Minutemen this Saturday at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.

Correction: February 9, 2011

An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that the women’s tennis team’s record is 1–2. The team is 4–2.

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