The men’s tennis team fought through a tough weekend, battling rowdy fans and rain during its run for the Ivy League title.
In the first match of the weekend, Yale (13–8, 2–2 Ivy) upset the No. 37 Columbia Lions 4–3, serving them their first loss in the Ivies. In a disappointing turn of events the next day, Yale struggled to repeat its performance. The Elis became unranked Cornell’s first win in the Ivy League this season with a 4–3 loss.
“It was great to beat [Columbia] because it’s great to pull out those close matches,” Patrick Chase ’14 said. “To have them come here after losing to them 4–3 last year and then beat them 4–3 meant a lot.”
During the beginning of the match against Columbia (16–4, 3–2 Ivy), it looked as if the Bulldogs would suffer another loss to an Ivy League opponent. Yale lost the first match of the day at No. 1 doubles when the pair of Daniel Hoffman ’13 and Marc Powers ’13 fell 8–2. Captain Erik Blumenkranz ‘12 and Joel Samaha ’12 were next to finish with an 8–3 win at No. 3. The doubles point then fell to the No. 2 pair of Chase and John Huang ’13. During the second set, Columbia suffered a point penalty resulting from their fans cheering during point play, but managed to hold on to the match. The Lions won 9–8 in a close tie-breaker, ending Yale’s six-point winning streak in doubles.
In singles, both teams won three matches each. Team captain Erik Blumenkranz ’12 started off with a decisive win at No. 4, 6–2, 6–0. Columbia took No. 2 in a tight match, after which Huang followed up with a win at No. 1 against No. 96 Haig Schneiderman to bring the match score to 2–2. The two teams then split No. 5 and No. 6, when Kyle Dawson ’13 won at No. 5 and Zach Krumholz ’15 lost at No. 6. The outcome of the match came down to the No. 3 contest. Hoffman defeated his opponent in three sets, extending the total time of the whole match to five hours.
“I thought it was a great atmosphere with all [the fans],” Huang said. “That’s what you play for really. It makes it so much more exciting because tennis seems like such a quiet sport.”
In a quick turnaround of 24 hours, the Bulldogs had to take on Cornell (8–15, 1–4 Ivy), which before the match was 0–4 in Ivy play. Yale destroyed the Big Red’s doubles lineup in under an hour, setting the stage for a potential win in the singles round.
In singles, Yale struggled to maintain its momentum from the doubles win. Huang came out swinging, defeating his opponent with power and precision 6–2, 6–1 and extending his winning streak to nine consecutive matches. At this point, the Bulldogs were now up 2–0 and only had to win two out of the five remaining matches to win. After the initial singles victory, the match started to fall apart for the Elis. A 30-minute rain delay halted four matches mid-game, but Yale returned to play down a set in three out of the four remaining matches. Yale was not able to recover from falling behind. At No. 3, Hoffman was the only other player to win in singles. Yet again, the match was completed in just under five hours.
“I think we came out a little too flat,” Huang said. “Yesterday was a really long match that took a lot out of us. We started off too slowly, and once we were behind it made it really tough to come back. Everyone gave it their best, but it was too late.”
Next weekend the Bulldogs will continue Ivy play away against No. 24 Harvard on Friday. After their trip to Boston, Yale will host Dartmouth at home for Senior Day.
Hoffman said Harvard will be a good match to win as the team is currently No. 1 in Ivy League standings. On Sunday he hopes to win for the seniors.