The unranked Yale men’s tennis team overcame a low seed to place fifth at the ECAC Men’s Indoor Tennis Team Championship in Ithaca, N.Y., over the weekend.
Going into the tournament, the Bulldogs received the No. 7 seed out of eight teams competing, seven of which come from the Ivy League. Yale was able to clinch fifth place despite losing to No. 47 Harvard in the first round, with an upset over No. 61 Brown and a win against unranked George Washington. Last year in the ECAC Championship, Yale suffered three losses to Columbia, Harvard and Princeton.
“We wanted to go into ECACs and really prove ourselves against the other teams,” John Huang ’13 said. “We haven’t had the greatest success at this tournament over the past few years, and we did a great job of battling and proving our talent over the course of the weekend.”
The first round of play pitted the Elis against archrival Harvard. Harvard was able to clinch the win 4–2 after Yale dropped the doubles point early on. Yale’s No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams were both defeated 8–5.
The only two wins for the Elis came at the No. 2 and No. 3 singles positions. Veteran Marc Powers ’13 and team captain Daniel Hoffman ’13 each won in three sets apiece. Powers recovered from a set lost in a tiebreaker to end his match 6–7, 6–3, 6–1.
“Marc had a fantastic weekend,” Hoffman said. “He is very talented and has been working really hard this semester. He has really committed himself, and I’m glad that his work is paying off.”
Powers followed up his victory with an easy 6–0, 6–1 win at No. 2 against Brown’s Soufiane Azargui on Saturday. By winning the doubles point in a close competition, the Bulldogs were able to pull off a win 4–3. Yale’s top three singles players, Huang, Powers and Hoffman, stepped up to finish the Bears off.
Early the next morning Yale went up against George Washington for the consolation title. The match format flipped on the last day, and singles went before doubles. Yale stepped up with a 4–0 sweep victory and ended the match play early. Powers finished the weekend with a perfect 3–0 singles record and was the only Bulldog to go undefeated all weekend.
“This weekend proves that we are on the right path,” Powers said. “We proved to the league that we are a legitimate threat at all positions, and we proved to ourselves that we have a real chance at taking home the title this year.”
After a weekend off at home, the Bulldogs will host three teams at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center on March 2 and 3: Fairleigh Dickinson, Marist and Stony Brook. Yale still remains undefeated at home.