The men’s tennis team rounded off the fall season with spectacular victories at the Connecticut State Championships.
Yale hosted the championships at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, bringing players from Hartford, Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart University, University of Connecticut and Fairfield University.Daniel Hoffman ’13 claimed the singles title, and John Huang ’13 and Joel Samaha ’12 won doubles.
“We were certainly hoping for this result,” coach Alex Dorato said. “This is the best we’ve ever done [in this tournament].”
Dorato said he was particularly impressed by the team’s performance against Fairfield, which has very strong players.
Out of 10singles players for the Bulldogs, seven made it to the quarterfinals, leading to an all-Yale semifinals. Hoffman won the finals after facing teammate Kyle Dawson ’14 to win 3–6, 6–0, 10–2.
Hoffman said the most exciting moment of the tournament for him actually came in the first match that he played when he had two matchpoints against him from opponent Wei Lin of UConn before winning on a tie-breaker.
Doubles also saw excellent results despite rearranging usual doubles partners for this tournament. Huang and Samaha defeated Fairfield’s Dan Sauter and Dennis Ziobinsky 8–3.
Hoffman said that the team’s weaker showing in the regionals earlier this month were partly due to injuries, but he said many players have shown improvement.
Marc Powers ’13 added that while the team is injury-susceptible, it is deep.
The team is now examining the implications of the fall season, and specifically this tournament, for the fuller spring season, when several players and Dorato said the Elis hope to take home the Ivy championship.
“Right now, I think we have as good a chance as any [in the spring Ivy tournament],” Powers said.
Hoffman added that in his freshman year, he thought that the team came within two points of winning the Ivy Championship, but Yale has not claimed the title since 1993.
The team will now have a three-month break before an exhibition match on Jan. 16 against Brown. However, Hoffman said the players will continue to practice and stay fit as the team prepares for even higher stakes in the spring season.
Last year in the Conn.State Championship, the men’s tennis team made it to the semifinals of the singles, where Jordan Abergel ’11 lost to Sacred Heart’s Kirill Kasyanov.