On its spring break tour of the West Coast, the men’s tennis team lost four of its five scheduled matches — the fifth was rained out — but still sees reason to expect a successful Ivy season.
The Bulldogs (5-7) lost to Loyola Marymount 1-6 on Mar. 12, to the University of California at Irvine 3-4 the next day, to No. 37 San Diego State 1-6 on Mar. 20, and to No. 29 the University of San Diego 0-7 on Mar. 22.
One setback for the Elis occurred right before the team left for California when Ryan Murphy ’05 pulled a back muscle during practice. Murphy, who usually plays No. 1 singles, was limited to one doubles match for the entire duration of the trip.
In the Irvine match, the closest contest of the Elis’ road trip, doubles team Andrew Rosenfeld ’04 and Rowan Reynolds ’06 defeated Jonathan Endrikat and Brian Morton 9-8, in a match Reynolds described as “probably the best doubles match we’ve played as a team.” The Anteater duo is No. 19 in the country.
Reynolds said the match was intense and balanced until the very end, when Endrikat and Morton fell apart in a tiebreaker, losing 7-1.
“We had no breaks on their serves,” Reynolds said. “It was pretty solid all the way into the tiebreaker, and in the tiebreaker, they started to make some mistakes they hadn’t been making before.”
Reynolds said he did not realize how high his opponents were ranked until it was too late for him to be intimidated.
“As a freshman, I have the advantage of not knowing anyone’s names,” Reynolds said.
The Rosenfeld/Reynolds victory, combined with another doubles win from Matt Feldman ’06 and Milosz Gudzowski ’06, secured the doubles point for the Bulldogs. Throughout the season, the Bulldogs have relied on winning the doubles point to build momentum heading into singles matches.
Instead of playing one man at the net and one at the baseline, Feldman and Gudzowski both stayed at the baseline the entire duration of the match, winning 8-3.
Feldman added that this strategy, while successful against Irvine, failed against San Diego State, a match that they lost 8-1.
Against Irvine, Rosenfeld also won his singles match against junior Zoran Korac. David Goldman ’04 contributed a win in the fourth singles spot, playing with a still-tender abdomen muscle, but the match’s outcome hinged on Feldman’s performance in the No. 6 singles spot.
Although Feldman shut out Eric Yandoc of Irvine in the first set and won the first four games of the third, Yandoc surpassed him at the end, clinching the crucial fourth point of the match and the victory for the Anteaters.
“I was playing really well and [Yandoc] wasn’t playing very well at all, and I just took advantage,” Feldman said. “But during the third set I just kind of realized the whole match was riding on my game, and I got a little tight and lost it.”
Although the Bulldogs lost their four spring break matches, the more important Ivy League meets are still to come. Feldman said the Elis will work on their mental preparation leading up to their April 5 meet at home against Brown.
“We’ll hopefully have our confidence built up by then, and hopefully win the Ivies,” Feldman said.