Building on an early season 6-0 record, the men’s tennis team faced off against a host of tough teams out West over spring break and won all but one of their six matches.

Facing the College of the Desert, Portland, Wisconsin, Northern Arizona, San Diego and San Diego State, the still unranked Bulldogs played with Steve Berke ’03 in the No. 1 singles position in all but one match. Greg Royce ’01, Scott Carlton ’01, David Goldman ’04, Chris Shackleton ’02 and Andrew Rosenfeld ’04 rounded out the singles set.

Berke also played in the top doubles spot along with Ryan Coyle ’02. The second doubles team of Goldman and Royce posted an undefeated record during the trip. Carlton and Shackleton played third doubles.

In a closely contested match, the Elis defeated the San Diego State Aztecs, ranked 55th in the nation, 4-3 March 17. After splitting the six singles matches, the Bulldogs pulled out the victory when the pairs of Goldman-Royce and Carlton-Shackleton won their doubles matches, 8-5 and 8-6, respectively, to give the Bulldogs the decisive point — one point was awarded to the team that won the majority of the doubles.

The squad’s only loss of the trip — and of this season — came March 16 when the Bulldogs lost 4-3 to the University of San Diego. Although the Bulldogs again won the doubles point, sweeping the pairs, the team lost four of the six singles matches. Berke and Goldman were the only singles victors.

“San Diego State is ranked 50th,” head coach Alex Dorato said. “Losing to them wasn’t bad, but we definitely could have beaten them.”

The Elis most convincing victories came March 12 and March 15. They easily defeated Northern Arizona 5-1, taking four points in the singles and only losing one match. The seventh point remained unaccounted for because Goldman’s match ended with his opponent retiring. Goldman led 6-0, 1-0. The doubles team was again successful in gaining a point as the top two pairs won their respective matches, 8-3 and 8-2.

On March 12, the Bulldogs battered Wisconsin, ranked 60th, by a score of 6-1, winning every match except for the first singles. Portland was the only team able to take a point from the Elis in the doubles, winning the first and third doubles matches March 11. But Yale won four of the six singles matches and narrowly pulled out the victory 4-3. Dan Arellano ’04 played in the top singles spot, defeating his opponent in straight sets, 6-3 and 6-2.

The opening match of the trip March 6 pitted the Bulldogs against the College of the Desert. Despite losing the top three singles matches, the Elis managed to eke out the victory with Goldman, Shackleton and Rosenfeld breezing to straight-set victories in the fourth, fifth and sixth singles. The Bulldogs also won the doubles point.

After the strong tour, the Elis return to the Cullman Courts with an 11-1 record.

Dorato is optimistic about the team’s chances in the upcoming Ivy campaign.

“We have a good shot at any team in the Ivies,” Dorato said. “Two freshmen, Goldman and Rosenfeld, have amazing singles records this spring. Each has lost only one match. If we continue to play this way, we could win the Ivy title.”

The Bulldogs resume action March 23 when they face Rutgers at home. Royce is confident about the team’s chances against the Scarlet Knights and for the rest of the season.

“We should be able to defeat Rutgers,” Royce said. “Most of the teams we played during the trip were on par with the Ivy League competition we will face. If anything, our performance over break proved that we can win the league.”

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