Though the men’s tennis team’s effort stayed constant throughout this weekend, its results did not.
The Elis (11-8, 4-2 Ivy) traveled to Cambridge, Mass., losing a 4-3 heartbreaker to archrival Harvard (7-8, 3-3) on Friday night. But the Bulldogs recovered, returning home to administer a 7-0 walloping to Dartmouth (8-15, 0-6) on Sunday afternoon.
Although playing Harvard on the road is never an easy feat, this particular trip was made even more difficult by bitter cold and potent winds. But despite miserable weather and a hostile environment, the Elis performed admirably, maintaining their focus and fighting for every point. Players said the weather added another factor to overcome.
“Playing at another college’s facility is always tough, but it was ridiculously windy as well,” Brandon Wai ’07 said. “We’re not going to use it as an excuse, but I was definitely struggling with it.”
All season long, the Bulldogs have struggled in doubles play, and Friday night was no exception. The Cantabs swept all three doubles matches, putting the Elis at a disadvantage from the start.
Yale refused to give up and quickly established its presence on the court. Brandon Wai ’07 continued his domination of the Ivy League, defeating Ashwin Kumar at No. 1 singles. Wai dropped a tough first set 4-6 but battled back to take the next two 6-1 and 7-5.
Jeff Dawson ’09 and Rory Green ’08 both registered victories at No. 3 and No. 5 singles, respectively, to tie the contest at three points apiece. The match came down to No. 2 singles, where Milosz Gudzowski lost a bitter three-setter. He trailed 4-3 in the third set and was within one point of tying the match but fell 6-1, 5-7, 6-3.
Players made it clear that the loss was not a result of a lack of effort on their part.
“We competed really well and every guy played his heart out,” Rowan Reynolds ’06 said. “It really came down to a couple points and we came up just short.”
Using Friday night’s tough loss as fuel, the Elis were determined to redeem themselves indoors against Dartmouth. In a complete reversal from the Harvard match, the Bulldogs controlled the match from the beginning and swept the doubles matches. After Yale won the first four singles matches handily, Darmouth forfeited No. 5 and No. 6 singles, remaining the only team in the Ancient Eight yet to record a win.
“We really came out strong against Dartmouth,” Michael Caldwell ’09 said. “It was good to get the doubles point because we haven’t done that a lot this year. It was really a solid match from top to bottom.”
The Bulldogs will wrap up their Ivy League season this Wednesday when they travel to Providence, R.I., to take on Brown. Though the team is no longer in contention for the Ivy League title, it is determined to end its season on a positive note.
“We’re feeling very confident going into the match,” Wai said. “They’re a tough team, but we know we can compete with them. We have the talent, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”