The men’s tennis team hopes to compete in the national indoor championships, but first the Bulldogs must win the ECAC tournament.

This weekend, the team travels to Flushing Meadow, N.Y. to compete in the ECAC Team Championship, the highlight of the fall tennis season. Last year, the Bulldogs finished second — just shy of a placement at the national indoor tournament.

“We are not only going to win, we’re going to win with style,” Ben Woodhouse ’03.

Yale will face the University of Pennsylvania at 1 p.m. Friday in the first round. If the Bulldogs win, they will play No. 1 seed Virginia Tech in the second round.

“Penn will be a decent competitor, and I think that we will match up well against them,” Rowan Reynolds ’06 said.

To win the tournament and earn a spot at the national indoor event, the Bulldogs need to win four matches. Unlike the last two tournaments of the fall season, the ECAC is a team event.

“We’re just going to take it one match at a time, and if everything goes as planned, we should come away with the title,” Ryan Murphy ’05 said.

Head coach Alex Dorato is confident with his team as they head into the tournament.

“I am very excited about our chances this weekend,” Dorato said. “I am anxious to see how the freshmen play against this caliber of competition.”

The lineup this weekend will feature Murphy, Andrew Rosenfeld ’04, Dave Goldman ’03, Milosz Gudzowski ’06, Johnny Lu ’05, and Matt Feldman ’06, in that order. Murphy’s performance from the number one spot is crucial to the outcome because he fills All-American Steve Berke’s ’03 position.

The absence of Berke and captain Dustin West ’04 could pose problems for the team this weekend and down the road.

“Not having Berke hurts,” Reynolds said. “Whenever he plays it’s a win, and we could use a luxury like that at this tournament.”

Berke is still suffering from an injury that kept him out of the action last season, and West is recovering from a torn abdomen. For now, they must rely on their teammates to fill in.

The freshmen could offer some relief by expanding the team’s depth. Gudzowski is confident his classmates can play an important role.

“If we all play well and don’t get hurt, we should definitely take the tournament,” Gudzowski said.