Demoralized and fatigued, the men’s tennis team floundered through the consolation round of the ECAC Tournament this past weekend in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Ninth-seeded Yale fell to Cornell in the consolation round’s quarterfinals, falling from the tournament and failing to qualify for the National Indoor Championships this winter.
“We didn’t play our best against Cornell, and the loss was both disappointing and upsetting,” Ryan Murphy ’05 said.
Last year, Yale placed second at the ECAC, and this year the team expected to better that performance.
Instead, after defeating Penn 4-3 in Round 16 play, Yale suffered a tough loss to nationally-ranked Virginia Tech 6-1 in the quarterfinals. In the consolation round, the Bulldogs were upset by Cornell 5-2.
In the match against eighth-seeded Penn on Friday, Murphy, Milosz Gudzowski ’06 and Matt Feldman ’06 won their singles matches. Yale also gained the doubles point when the teams Andrew Rosenfeld ’04 — Johnny Lu ’05 and Rowan Reynolds ’06 — Ben Woodhouse ’03 both won.
Doubles competition involves three matches, with the school winning two matches earning one team point. Each singles match victory contributes one point as well.
The next match against Virginia Tech was more challenging for the Bulldogs, especially without the presence of All-American Steve Berke ’03, who is suffering from shin splints and other injuries. Virginia Tech is currently ranked 35 in the nation.
But Yale did not go down without a fight, taking top-seeded Virginia Tech to three sets in the top three singles contests. Still, the Bulldogs’ only point came from the combined doubles wins of Dave Goldman ’04 — Murphy and Reynolds — Woodhouse. Murphy and Goldman defeated the No. 35 doubles team in the country in their match.
“The match against Virginia Tech was a lot closer than the 6-1 score indicated. We competed well with them, even against their nationally-ranked players,” Murphy said. “Winning doubles [against them] was a big accomplishment for me and Dave.”
Yet the loss seemed to suck energy from the Bulldogs. With both injury and mental fatigue hindering the team, Yale lost the doubles point to fifth-seeded Cornell, with only Murphy and Goldman winning their match. In singles play, just Murphy and Gudzowski won.
Goldman attributed the Cornell loss to a lack of mental toughness.
“We always play really poorly the day after a loss, and we need to do a better job of rebounding in the future,” Goldman said.
The loss prevents Yale from competing in the National Indoor Championship, a preseason goal for the Elis.
“I was upset about the Cornell match,” Gudzowski said. “Without a doubt, we should have won.”
Although Yale tied for seventh, head coach Alex Dorato felt the team did not live up to its full potential.
“We were seeded ninth in the tournament, and we ended up tying for seventh; so from an outsider’s perspective, we performed pretty decently,” Dorato said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t play as well in the last match as we did in the other two. We just didn’t have the same energy against Cornell that we usually have.”
Yale’s last fall competition, the ITA Regional Championships on Oct. 25-29, involves individual matches at Penn. Players will learn if they qualify on Oct. 21.