The men’s tennis team lost for the first time this semester, dropping two matches to two of the top 50 teams in the nation Feb. 15 and Feb. 16.

On Saturday the Bulldogs (3-2) fell to host No. 39 Virginia Tech 5-2 at the Burleson/Burrows Tennis Center. The Elis repeated their fate with a 4-3 loss to No. 50 William and Mary Sunday.

Head coach Alex Dorato said in an e-mail to Yale tennis alumni that he thought his team earned some valuable experience from their losses that will serve them well later in the spring.

“We may have come away with two losses this past weekend,” Dorato said. “But we gained some valuable confidence by playing even with two top 50 teams.”

In the fall, Yale faced Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals of the ECAC tournament, falling 6-1. In the most recent meeting, the match was lost in a close seventh match, Dorato said.

Ryan Murphy ’05 and David Goldman ’04 paired up to lead off the Bulldogs in the No. 1 doubles slot. The duo defeated the No. 44 doubles team of Andreas Lauland and Stephane Rod 8-6. Yale’s No. 2 doubles team, Rowan Reynolds ’06 and Andrew Rosenfeld ’04, sealed the doubles point for Yale, coming from behind after being down two sets to beat Virginia Tech’s Saber Kadiri and David Emery 8-6.

“There was a lot of positive energy in the doubles against [Virginia Tech],” Reynolds said. “In the future we need to start off with that kind of energy in every match and extend it into the singles as well.”

In singles play, Reynolds added a quick point to the Yale scoreboard in the No. 6 slot after defeating his opponent in three sets 6-2,4-6, 6-3. Goldman, who played at No.3 for the Bulldogs, faced a difficult match against nationally ranked Lauland early on after straining his abdomen. He ended up losing to No. 88 Lauland 0-6,0-3.

Murphy and Andrew Rosenfeld ’04, who competed in No.1 and No. 2 singles respectively, had similar results against Virginia Tech’s nationally ranked players. Murphy fell in three sets to No. 94 Francis Huot 1-6, 6-4, 3-6. Rosenfeld lost in straight sets to No. 51 Saber Kadiri 6-7, 2-6.

Johnny Lu ’05 lost his No. 5 singles match 4-6,4-6, and Milosz Gudzowksi ’06 competed in singles for the Bulldogs at the No. 4 position. He also failed to earn a point for Yale, falling in three sets 2-6, 7-6, 4-6.

Murphy said he thought Yale could have performed better against Virginia Tech.

“No one on our team felt that we played as well as we could have,” Murphy said. “But we played a very tough team very closely on the road, and I think we gained some valuable experience, especially the freshmen.”

In the match against William and Mary, the Bulldogs altered their singles lineup because Goldman’s injury from the Virginia Tech match kept him from competing in singles Sunday. Gudzowski, Lu, and Reynolds all slid up a spot, filling the No.3, No.4, and No.5 slots in singles respectively. In doubles competition, the Bulldogs dropped all three of their matches to the Tribe. Murphy-Goldman and Reynolds-Rosenfeld both fell in their matches 4-8. Benjamin Woodhouse ’03 and Lu competed at No. 3 doubles for the Bulldogs, losing 5-8.

This marked the first time Yale had lost the doubles point in a match in their spring season.

In singles competition, Reynolds and Matt Feldman ’06 lost in straight sets at No. 5 and No. 6 respectively. Lu got Yale on the scoreboard with a 7-6, 6-3 victory, and Rosenfeld followed with a 7-6, 6-2 victory at the No. 2 spot. Gudzowski and Murphy both went to three sets in their matches. Murphy ended up victorious, beating the Tribe’s Geoffrey Russell 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. With the winning point on the line, Gudzowski lost his third set after a comeback rally in his second set to lose his match 4-6, 7-6, 0-6.

Although the Bulldogs dropped both of their matches, Murphy said no one on the team felt that the weekend would be an indicator of the Bulldogs’ performance for the coming season.

“With hard work, hopefully we can turn a bad weekend into success later on in the Ivy season,” Murphy said.

The Bulldogs will go on the road to compete against Army on Saturday.

“We need to bounce back this weekend and try to get some momentum before our spring break,” Lu said. “We really want to play some quality tennis and move back into the top 75 teams like last year.”

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