After dropping three close Ivy League matches on the road, the men’s tennis team came home to try to salvage their season as they hosted Columbia and Cornell.

In almost identical fashion to their three previous Ivy losses, the Bulldogs came close to winning but fell to both Columbia and Cornell, 4-3.

On Friday against Columbia, the Elis (11-9, 0-5 Ivy) got off to a good start as Ryan Coyle ’02 and Dustin West ’04 won 8-2 at the No. 2 doubles spot and the No. 3 team of Chris Shackelton ’02 and Andrew Rosenfeld ’03 won 8-3, giving Yale the doubles point and a 1-0 lead.

In singles, No. 3 Rosenfeld gave Yale another good performance with a 6-3, 6-3 win. But the Bulldogs could win only one of the next four matches — all of which went three sets. No. 6 Coyle pulled out a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 comeback over Eric Wallace for the Elis’ final team point.

“It is obviously very disappointing,” Ryan Murphy ’05 said. “But the team’s morale is still high. We’re just having a tough time putting it together and winning the big points.”

Against Cornell, the Bulldogs tried to shake things up by switching around the lineup. The change seemed to be working, as Yale won all three doubles matches. But the result was the same in the end.

No. 1 Murphy lost his second grueling three set match of the weekend and both Shackelton, now at No. 5, and Coyle fell in three sets.

No. 2 Rosenfeld and No. 3 Goldman, who swapped spots, fought back, as both won in three sets after dropping the second. But a loss by newly promoted No. 4 Johnny Lu ’05 sealed the 4-3 win for the Big Red.

Just as in previous matches, the team thought the result could have gone either way.

“Both matches were really tight,” Yale head coach Alex Dorato said. “Against Cornell, Chris [Shackelton] came back from two match points and Ryan Murphy was a couple points from winning both of his matches this weekend. We are playing really well and could easily be undefeated instead of 0-5.”

While their title dreams are over, the Bulldogs are gearing up for their trip to Cambridge next Friday for a showdown with first place Harvard.

“We beat them in the fall,” said Murphy. “We have six good players all of whom can win. And with Yale-Harvard anything can happen.”