After a season of ups and downs, the men’s tennis team ended its season on a high note at home Wednesday.
The Elis defeated Brown in their last match of the season, 4-3. Wednesday’s win gave the Bulldogs an overall winning record on the season of 4-3.
The Bears defeated the Bulldogs 5-2 earlier this year at the ECAC championships. Both teams were already out of Ivy title contention going into Wednesday’s match. The Ivy title went to Columbia, which had been the favorites going into this season. The Lions finished the Ivy season with an overall record of 6-1.
“Brown is a tough team,” Erik Blumenkranz ’12 said. “We played our best today and we really wanted to win.”
After dropping the doubles point, the Elis battled back to win the four necessary singles matches for the overall victory. At No. 1, captain Jeff Dawson ’09 wiped out his opponent, 6-2 and 6-4.
“Everyone went out there and gave it their all,” Dawson said. “We knew we needed to win four singles and we did just that.”
Connor Dawson ’10, playing at No. 2, won his match simultaneously as the No. 1, 6-2 and 6-4. Those back-to-back wins added energy to the remaining matches, players said.
“Connor and Jeff winning at the same time gave a lot of momentum going into the next matches,” Joel Samaha ’12 said.
Calvin Bennett ’11 continued his winning season with a 6-2 and 6-2 triumph at No. 4. Bennett whitewashed his opponent on Wednesday, earning him his eleventh victory of the last twelve consecutive matches.
The No. 6 match was the last to finish with both teams tied 3-3. Feeding off of the energy of his teammates’ wins, Blumenkranz secured the fourth win for the Elis in two sets, 6-1 and 7-6.
“I had a tight match,” Blumenkranz said. “I happened to be the last to finish, but it took four to win, not just one.”
Tom Santoro ’09 added, “Erik was definitely the clincher for us.”
This year, the Bulldogs will graduate four seniors, which, the underclassmen said, made them more eager to win.
“We were all really trying to do our best,” Samaha said. “I was happy that the entire team did well, especially for the seniors.”
The senior members of the team acknowledged the importance of the underclassmen to the team’s success this season.
“The younger guys were big contributors,” Santoro said. “They gained a lot of experience here, and hopefully next year, they’ll come back even stronger.”
Looking back on this past season, the Elis said they were especially thankful for yesterday’s win. Prior to their victory against the Bears, the Bulldogs had a split record 3-3.
“It was a nice way to end it,” Jeff Dawson said of the last match of his Yale career.
Next year, the returning players will be joined by three new members of the incoming freshman class.
“We made a nice improvement from last year’s record,” Jeff Dawson said. “Next year, we have a great recruiting class and a lot of unbelievable returning singles players.”
Given the positive note this season ended on, the Elis are hopeful that they will continue to improve with next year’s new talent.
“Our record this year shows what is possible for next year,” Jeff Dawson explained. “The goal will always be the Ivy title. Over the summer, they’ll put in some hard work and come back hungry.”