Last weekend, freshman walk-on Alex Hagermoser ’17 turned in a surprise performance for the men’s tennis team. This weekend, at the Ivy Plus Invitational hosted by Yale, it was another freshman who stole the show.
Freshman recruit Tyler Lu ’17 beat opponents from UNC Wilmington, St. John’s and Harvard, and clinched the B-Draw, the second most difficult bracket of the meet. Fellow freshman Photos Photiades ’17 posted his first collegiate match win, and the Bulldogs rebounded well from a disappointing showing last week at the Princeton Farnsworth Invitational.
Lu took the court for his opening-round match against UNC Wilmington’s Santtu Leskinnen in the B-Draw — the second most difficult bracket in the tournament — and turned in a seemingly routine victory 6-3, 6-4 in just his second collegiate competition. Team captain Kyle Dawson ’14 also won his first-round match in the C-Draw, beating Army’s Sam Lampman 6-1, 6-4. Daniel Faierman ’15 and Hagermoser won their main-draw first-round matches as well.
Though Photiades was not cleared to play by the NCAA until early Saturday morning, he played his first match in the consolation round. Facing Cameron Ghorbani from Dartmouth, Photiades raced to a 6-3, 6-2 decision.
Head coach Alex Dorato was impressed by Photiades’ performance.
“Photos did awesome. He only got to play two matches … but he won both of them convincingly against players in the Dartmouth starting lineup,” Dorato said.
The rest of the Bulldogs were also in good form for match play on Saturday. Lu continued his run through the bracket in the B-Draw Semifinals, rolling through Alex Steinroeder of Harvard 6-2, 6-1. Zachary Krumholz ’15 posted a consolation-round win, knocking off Binghamton’s Frank Kote 6-5, 6-4, while Patrick Chase ’14 bested fellow Bulldog James Ratchford ’17, 6-1, 5-6, 6-1. Dawson, Faierman and Jason Brown ’16 all lost their Saturday consolation matches.
Sunday’s slate of matches pitted Lu against another Harvard opponent, Brian Yeung, in the B-Draw final. After a tightly contested first set, Lu was able to hold his composure in a resounding 6-5, 6-3 win to take the final.
Dorato noted Lu’s ability to respond to the coaching staff’s techniques quickly.
“He did what we told him to do, and he was successful this weekend,” Dorato said.
Photiades won by almost the same set score as he did in his first match, beating Brandon Debot, also of Dartmouth, 6-2, 6-3. Krumholz and Chase each lost tight three-set matches, with Krumholz falling to Christiaan Van der Burgh of UNC Wilmington 2-6, 6-5, 1-0, and Chase losing to Army’s Kyle Barnes 6-1, 3-6, 1-0.
Krumholz was pleased with the team’s development over the last week.
“Overall, I think we noticed a big improvement from everyone,” Krumholz said. “We are all excited to keep competing and improving so that we are in top form for the spring.”
Dorato added that while he is pleased with the surprising form of his new batch of freshman, older players will need to step up if the team wants to be successful come the spring season.
“This is a rebuilding year as we only have two new recruited players. Our freshmen will definitely help towards the end, but we will also need some returning players to step up,” he said.
The Elis take this week off before traveling to West Point, N.Y., for the Army Shootout Oct. 5 to 6.