M. TENNIS | Injuries sink Bulldogs

The men’s tennis team lost 4–3 to Binghamton in the opening round of the ECAC Indoor Championships. Binghamton went on to finish second.
The men’s tennis team lost 4–3 to Binghamton in the opening round of the ECAC Indoor Championships. Binghamton went on to finish second. Photo by Zoe Gorman.

Plagued by injuries, the men’s tennis team suffered two close losses this weekend and was eliminated from the ECAC Indoor Tennis Championships in the first round.

The sixth-seeded Bulldogs fell to third seed and eventual runner-up Binghamton, 4–3, in its opening round matchup Saturday morning and then lost 5–2 in Sunday’s consolation match with St. John’s.

At first, things started went smoothly for Yale, which came out strong in the doubles matches, sweeping all three spots and taking the doubles point. But in singles play, the Elis lost four of their six matches.

“The weekend was obviously a disappointment,” Kyle Dawson ’14 said. “However, the doubles have continued to improve and everyone is playing with a lot of heart.”

At the No. 1 spot, Marc Powers ’13 and Joel Samaha ’12 defeated the duo of Sven Vloedgraven and Gilbert Wong 8–5. In a closely contested match at No. 2, Daniel Hoffman ’13 and Erik Blumenkranz ’12 held off Arnav Jain and Alexandre Haggai 9–8. Finally, captain Calvin Bennett ’11 and John Huang ’13 completed the sweep, winning 8–3.

In the singles matches, Hoffman and Samaha were the only ones to taste victory. Hoffman won in straight sets against Haggai 6–4, 6–0 at the No. 3 spot while Samaha defeated Ruben Devos 6–3, 6–3.

At the No. 1 spot, Vloedgraven made up for the loss in doubles by besting Powers 6–2, 7–5. The two had previously met in last year’s USTA/ITA Northeast Regionals, with Powers losing in three sets. Huang lost to Jain 6–7, 3–6 while Jordan Abergel ’11 fell 4–6, 4–6. Dawson lost a closely contested match 2–6, 6–2, 6–4, 4–6.

“We need to get all our players healthy,” Abergel said. “We were competing with four injured players and to win under those circumstances in nearly impossible.”

Bennett is coming off a wrist surgery during the fall season and has seen only limited actions so far this spring. Meanwhile, Dawson has a light ankle sprain and a possible stress fracture in his right foot, Abergel is still recovering from a disk bulge in his back and Blumenkranz aggravated a groin injury.

Head coach Alex Dorato said he thought that the outcome would have been different if everyone were healthy.

“It would have been a whole different ball game,” Dorato said. “Binghamton beat Princeton, who was the two seed, 4–3. If we were healthy and had beaten Binghamton, there would have been a chance we could have beaten Princeton as well and made it to the finals.”

After the loss on Saturday, the Elis lost again on Sunday, this time to St. John’s, 5–2, in a consolation match.

Yale’s only two points came from the top two singles spots. Powers defeated Asaf Honig 6–4, 6–3 while Hoffman won his match in a 10–7 tiebreaker after dropping the first set (4–6, 6–4, 10–7). Bennett played in his first singles match this season at the No. 6 singles spot, narrowly losing to Mischa Koran 1–6, 6–4, 3–6.

The Bulldogs will play both Binghamton and St. Johns later this season and Dorato said he thinks the tournament will help the team in their re-matches.

“We got a chance to see how these guys play and how to prepare for them,” he said. “This will definitely help us in the future.”

The team faces off against Stony Brook University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Marist College this weekend at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.

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