The men’s tennis is no stranger to close matches this season. After tough single-point losses against Boston College and Purdue two weeks ago, the Bulldogs came out on top this weekend against the visiting Middle Tennessee State.
The Elis edged out the Blue Raiders with a 4–3 win at the Cullman–Heyman Center Tennis Center on Saturday. The two teams evenly split the singles matches but Yale swept all three doubles matches to secure the victory. Yale is now 2–2 overall this season.
“The team has been putting in really hard work during practices, and I think that hard work paid off.” Kyle Dawson ’14 said.
At the No. 1 singles spot, Marc Powers ’13 quickly defeated Middle Tennessee’s Shaun Waters 6–2, 6–4. But the Blue Raiders responded with Ben Davis beating John Huang ’13 in two sets, 7–6, 6–0. Daniel Hoffman ’13 beat out Matthew Langley 6–4, 7–5 and Joel Samaha ’12 scored the final singles point by defeating Dmitri Pippos 6–3, 6–4.
Erik Blumenkranz ’12 and Dawson both suffered closely contested three-set losses against their opponents. Blumenkranz fell to Joseph Cohen 6–3, 5–7, 3–6 and Dawson was bested by Elliott Barnwell 7–6, 3–6, 1–6.
“The key to Saturday was winning the doubles point, which will be key for the entire season,” Dawson said. “So far, I think our team has seen big improvements in our doubles.”
Doubles was an area that the team had some struggles with during the fall season, especially during the USTA/ITA Northeast Regional Championships in October. But with a sweep of doubles on Saturday, the Bulldogs have now won the doubles point in three out of four matches this spring.
The duo of Powers and Samaha took the No. 1 doubles match 9–7 against Middle Tennessee’s Waters and Ben Davis while Calvin Bennett ’11 and Huang won by the same score at the No. 3 doubles. Blumenkranz and Hoffman completed the sweep by beating Cohen and Barnwell 8–5.
“We played well enough to win, but still have some work to do,” Blumenkranz said. “We will play better as we get some more matches under our belt and get healthy.”
The team will travel to Cambridge, Mass. this Friday to compete in the ECAC Indoor Championship, which features 10 ECAC teams. The Bulldogs are the sixth seed in the tournament and will face off against third seed Binghamton University on Saturday morning. Cornell received the top overall seed while the two–time defending champions Harvard is ranked fourth.
“Our goal, as it is with any match or tournament we enter, is to win it,” Dawson said. “It is a very tough competition this weekend with many good teams but with a good week of practice we will be ready for the opportunity come Saturday.”
The ECAC tournament begins on Friday and will conclude with the championship match on Feb. 21.