The singles may succeed, but Alex Dorato is still dogged by a doubles dilemma.
Though it lost 5-2 to No. 54 Virginia Tech at the Cullman Courts on Sunday, the men’s tennis team has definitely seen an improvement in its level of play. While the score may indicate a hard match that did not leave Yale with much chance of winning, the Bulldogs and their coach saud they feel that the opposite was true.
“It was [a] very good [match],” Dorato, the head coach, said. “I thought that if we play that well in the Ivy League, we will probably beat every team.”
Doubles seems to be an omnipresent problem for the Bulldogs, who lost the doubles point with all three pairs falling in their matches. Virginia’s No. 1 squad of Soren Spanner and Stephane Rod defeated Ryan Murphy ’05 and Brandon Wai ’07 8-4. Neil Tolaney ’04 and returning captain David Goldman ’04, who has been out for the entire season due to an injury, lost by the same score to Angel Diankov and Brent Wilkins. Andrew Rosenfeld ’04 and Rowan Reynolds ’06 met defeat, 8-6.
The doubles debacle has been plaguing the Bulldogs for much of the season. One of the main obstacles faced is the Elis’ inability to find a solid No. 3 doubles team. Over the course of the season, Tolaney has played with Chris Lawler ’07, Johnny Lu ’05 and now Goldman.
“Our doubles teams are not getting it done, so we’re going to work a lot on doubles,” Dorato said. “Then, [assistant coach] Joe [Roediger] and I will decide if we want to mix things up — We’ve been struggling at finding a No. 3 team, and you have to have three solid teams to win every match.”
Rosenfeld said not having a solid No. 3 doubles team can make playing even more difficult for the other two pairs.
“I can’t remember the last doubles point we won,” Rosenfeld said. “I think for our third doubles team, we haven’t had a team that’s gelled there. That puts a lot of pressure on winning one and two. Something has to change.”
Singles fared better and Dorato said two of his players succumbed to the Hokies only after taking them to a third set, or to a tie-breaker, in the case of Tolaney.
“It was actually pretty close,” Milosz Gudzowski ’06 said. “It was closer than the result shows. I think until the very end we could have had it. I think we were just as good as they were — if not better — but we had some bad luck.”
Rosenfeld, who plays No. 2 singles, and Gudzowski, who plays No. 5, were the only two Elis able to come away with wins, defeating their opponents 6-1, 6-3 and 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-5) respectively.
Because the overall match was already decided, Gudzowski played a 10-point super tie-breaker, in place of a third set.
“It was a good match,” he said. “I think I played really well. I thought I had a really good day.”
Rosenfeld said he was satisfied with his level of playing in his singles match, but not as pleased with his No. 2 doubles match with partner Reynolds.
“I played OK in doubles,” Rosenfeld said. “I didn’t really play aggressively enough or volley that well at the net.”
The Elis are optimistic for the upcoming Ivy season, which begins April 9 against Princeton in New Jersey.
“It’s always tough winning on the road, but there’s no doubt in my mind we’re better than they are,” Dorato said.
The Hokies’ coach, who just faced competition from Brown, told Dorato he thought Yale had a good chance against the Bears. Besides possible difficulties from Brown and Harvard, the Bulldogs’ chances for the rest of the season are looking good.
“I think it’s just a matter of guys being a little more consistent in their play,” Gudzowski said. “We’ve all played well before, so if we all do well at the same time, we have a really good chance of winning all our Ivy matches.”
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