With Ivy League standings on the line, the No. 56 men’s tennis team split yet another weekend against two Ancient Eight rivals.
In the final road trip of the year, the Bulldogs (17–6, 3–3 Ivy) rolled through the top four singles positions to clinch the win against the Dartmouth Big Green (9–12, 1–4 Ivy), 5–2. On Sunday, the roles were reversed when Yale competed against its bitter rival, the No. 22 Harvard Crimson (17–4, 5–0 Ivy). The Elis lost the doubles point and were not able to recover in singles, ending the day with a 5–2 loss. Yale will maintain its No. 4 ranking in the Ivy League after the results from its second-to-last weekend of play.
“I thought the team played really well against Dartmouth. It was a great road win in tough conditions,” team captain Daniel Hoffman ’13 said. “We are all disappointed we lost to Harvard. We have to give them credit though as they are very good and have had a fantastic year.”
Yale jumped ahead early by capturing the doubles point at No. 2 and No. 3 on Friday against Dartmouth. Hoffman and longtime doubles partner Marc Powers ’13 fell at No. 1, 8–4 to Dartmouth’s Brandon DeBot and Xander Centenari. John Huang ’13 and Patrick Chase ’14 dominated at No. 2 with an 8–6 win as the underclassmen pairing of Martin Svenning ’16 and Matt Saiontz ’15 mirrored the victory at the No. 3 position.
After gaining the upper hand by putting the first tally up on the board, the Bulldogs went on to seal the deal with impressive play in singles. Yale swept the first four singles spots, with all but one match won in two sets — at No. 3 Hoffman pulled off the win with a three-set victory. Jason Brown ’16 and Zach Dean ’13 lost at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions, respectively.
“I am very proud of our season so far,” Powers said. “We lost a few heartbreakers, but overall we have played well, fought hard, and we haven’t left a match feeling that we didn’t leave it all on the court.”
Against the archrival Crimson on Sunday, who has not lost a match in the last 11 competitions this season, the Bulldogs struggled to maintain any kind of momentum. On a brisk, sunny day at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, Yale fell in doubles in a change of pace from the previous day’s match. The No. 1 and No. 2 doubles teams were unable to hold off the charging Crimson and lost 8–5. The No. 3 match ended midway, 6–3.
As the momentum swung in favor of the team from Cambridge, the Elis fell one by one in singles play at the No. 2, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 spots. The two wins for Yale came at No. 1 and No. 3 from seasoned veterans Huang and Hoffman, respectively. Both players came back from going down in the first set to win in three. Dean said the team never has to worry about these two seniors going out and performing.
“We just didn’t get off to a great start,” Dean said. “Everyone lost the first set, and you can’t do that against a top-25 team and expect to win. Although the results aren’t what we wanted, we’ve definitely shown improvement from the last few years that I’ve been on the team.”
The last match of the season for the Bulldogs will be at home next Saturday against the neighboring Brown Bears at 2 p.m.