The men’s tennis team faltered this weekend with two road losses, falling to 2-2 in the Ivy League and 12-7 overall.
On Friday, Cornell took down the Bulldogs 6-1 in Ithaca, N.Y. On Saturday, Columbia came up with a narrow 4-3 victory.
“It’s obviously different being on the road,” captain Jeff Dawson ’09 said. “Everybody gets a little beat up like everybody else. No one wins the Ivy Title undefeated.”
Against the Big Red, the Elis only managed to scrape out one win in doubles play and went into singles already down 1-0. Calvin Bennett ’11 and Joel Samaha ’12 brought down Cornell’s Andy Gauthier and Jeremy Feldman, picking up the only doubles win for the Bulldogs.
“Doubles was very close and they ended up taking the doubles point,” Dawson said. “Cornell played well, we just played flat — hats off to them.”
After beginning doubles play on outdoor courts, singles matches were played indoors due to inclement weather.
“We started outside since we thought it would be really nice weather, but then it got really windy,” Bennett explained. “When we went inside, it was dark and we did our best to adjust.”
In singles, Bennett picked up the only Yale win against Cornell’s Jeremy Feldman, 7-5 and 7-5.
The next afternoon, the Bulldogs faced off against the Lions at Columbia. Although they fought hard, the Elis ultimately fell in a tight 4-3 match. After a tough unsuccessful doubles round, the Bulldogs went into singles under added pressure.
Dawson, Bennett and Erik Blumenkranz ’12 pulled out three wins for the Bulldogs.
“We rallied really well and showed great character for our team,” Dawson said. “It was really close, but we just came up a little short.”
Dawson played a long, hard match at No. 1 against Columbia’s Bogdan Borta. After losing the first set 5-7, Dawson came back to take the second set 7-5.
“Jeff really turned it up,” Blumenkranz said. “He played a great rest of the set and came back to win the tiebreaker.”
Blumenkranz also took the tiebreaker at No. 6. He scraped out a 6-3 victory in his second set after dropping the first 6-7. At No. 4, Bennett triumphed over his opponent 4-6, 6-0 and 1-2.
“Erik had an outstanding third set win on Saturday,” Dawson said. “And Calvin’s been playing phenomenally — he’s on a roll.”
Bennett has been one of the most consistent and successful players this season, picking up game-deciding wins. Although he is excited about his back-to-back wins this weekend, Bennett said he prefers to look ahead.
“This year, I’ve just gotten into this mental mind-set and just really do my best for my team,” Bennett said. “I try not to think of other pressure and just focus on my match.”
For the rest of the season, the Bulldogs are hopeful about their matches against the three remaining Ivies.
“All the Ivy League matches are so close these days,” Bennett said. “There’s really no clear winner.”
The Bulldogs take on Dartmouth on Friday in Hanover, N.H., before playing their final matches of the season against Harvard and Brown on April 19 and 22, respectively.