Winning all but one of a possible 18 games in the first two matches of the spring season, the men’s tennis team looks forward to a more successful season than last year, when the Bulldogs went 0-7 in Ivy League play.
Saturday’s 7-0 win over Boston College and Sunday’s 6-1 win over Colgate University started the season well for the Elis. Last year, the Bulldogs beat both schools, including a 7-0 shutout against Colgate before stumbling in conference play.
Prateek Tandon ’03 said the two wins were attributable to the team’s new, revitalized spirit.
“The attitude of everyone on the court was upbeat and enthusiastic,” Tandon said. “Our coach did a great job of really pumping us up.”
Head coach Alex Dorato said the Bulldogs have been working diligently and concentrating, and the wins were their reward.
“We’ve been practicing really hard, and we were extremely focused,” Dorato said. “This was a chance for the team to show how good they are.”
The two victories indicate possible success later this season, Tandon said. Boston College beat the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, proving the Bulldogs can compete in the Ivy League. Dorato also said Colgate was “on a par” with Dartmouth. The Red Raiders narrowly lost to the Big Green 4-3 in the October ECAC Tournament.
“We beat [Colgate] very soundly,” Dorato said.
Yale’s Ivy League season does not start until Apr. 5 against Brown, last year’s league champion. Tandon said Brown is the real test.
“Every [Ivy League] match is so tough because the difference between a win and a loss can be just a few points,” Tandon said.
Tandon said it might be harder to win this season without Steve Berke ’03, who used to “beat everybody.” Berke transferred to the University of California at Berkeley for his final semester, where he is already competing as a Golden Bear. College transfers must sit out for a year according to NCAA regulations, but Berke did not compete as an Eli for the last 12 months because of leg injuries.
But Dorato said the team’s overall talent level is higher than it was last season, and the overall morale is better, too.
Doubles play is one particular indication of the team’s improvement from last year, Johnny Lu ’05 said.
“In all the doubles matches, we basically dominated the other teams,” Lu said. “That just shows how much we’ve come along.”
Lu said assistant coach Joseph Roediger has been especially helpful preparing the team mentally, and the wins this weekend would build more confidence.
“They’re not the top-caliber teams, but they’ve boosted our confidence quite a bit,” Lu said.