Yale tennis kicked off the spring season this weekend with three wins for the men’s team and one for the women’s team.
The men’s team hosted Buffalo, Colgate and Monmouth, winning all three meets this Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, the women’s team traveled to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association kick-off weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the team split two matches, defeating Utah and falling to Michigan.
“We are all excited about this successful, victorious opening weekend,” captain Zachary Krumholz ’15 said. “Our ability to focus and compete at such a high level during our first match provides us with confidence and optimism for the season.”
The men’s team in particular had big wins, although they started out Saturday with a narrow 4–3 victory against Buffalo. In the match, the Bulldogs took the numbers one, four and six singles rounds, and had already swept the doubles games to earn that point for the win.
A standout performance from the weekend came from No. 4 singles player Martin Svenning ’16, who held on in three sets to secure the win over Buffalo’s Amar Hromic.
“I think this weekend was important for setting the tone for future matches and definitely shows that we have the potential to compete against top teams,” Stefan Doehler ’18 said. “[Svenning’s match] really fired us up for the rest of the matches on the weekend and was an awesome result for our first season match.”
The next day, the team dominated Colgate 7–0 and followed that up with a 6–1 win over Monmouth to finish the weekend with three wins. The Elis only dropped the doubles point against Monmouth, although the freshman pair of Fedor Andrienko ’18 and Doehler still took its game.
Doehler credits the team’s excitement and support for much of the success this weekend. He also believes that the players’ persistence and grit helped them focus for every point and come back against Monmouth.
“We made sure to keep the energy going throughout the weekend, something that really helped motivate and push ourselves to compete even harder,” Doehler said. “All of us did a great job of firing one another up, whether from an adjacent court or watching from the stands. Sometimes the matches are won from the sidelines just as much as they are from on the court.”
The women’s team also had a good weekend, although they had a rough start, facing No. 16 Michigan at the Wolverines’ home court. Although the Bulldogs put up a good fight, especially with a No. 3 doubles win, they ultimately fell 4–0 to Michigan, with three singles games abandoned after the Wolverines clinched the match.
No. 48 Yale then faced No. 42 Utah in a consolation match on Sunday. The team started off well, securing the doubles point before winning the match with three victories in the singles games.
“I would say that we had a great end to the weekend, and we learned a lot about what we need to improve on for the rest of the season so far,” Ree Ree Li ’16 said. “We can take confidence in the way we bounced back this weekend.”
Carol Finke ’18 gave a great performance for the Bulldogs against Utah, helping to win the doubles point with her partner Sherry Li ’17 7–6. She then pulled through in the No. 6 singles position to give Yale the fourth point necessary for the 4–1 victory.
Players on both teams commented on the support they received from their teammates and its importance for the team’s success.
“We’ve all been working pretty hard for the spring,” Ree Ree Li said. “Every member, even those cheering us on, were really involved. Even though the first day didn’t go the way we wanted, we were able to move forward [and win on Sunday].”
In practice this week, the women’s team will be focusing on gaining match experience. According to Li, the Bulldogs hope to become more comfortable with the new rule change, in which there is no advantage, just the deuce point.
“Unfortunately these next few blizzard-filled days are making it challenging to get out to the courts to practice,” Doehler said. “The whole team is taking every opportunity we can to get better.”
This includes lifts, fitness and morning practices for the men’s team, which is also honing its players’ doubles skills and playing with different lineups. According to Doehler, the Elis are encouraged by the success in doubles play this weekend.
One of the main goals for the men’s team, which will take on Fairfield and Iowa this weekend, is to stay healthy. Yale had several players sidelined throughout the fall season, and the players are working to prevent injuries in order to field the best team they can.
“Another goal is trying to become ranked again after dropping off after a disappointing run the last school year,” Doehler said. “We’ve been working extremely hard on and off the court since the fall, and after a good display this weekend we are definitely poised to make a great run this season.”
The women’s team also has big goals in mind, including winning the Ivy League. Last season, the Bulldogs failed to clinch the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four years.
Since Ivy League play doesn’t begin until the first weekend in April, Yale has time to take advantage of every opportunity to increase its rank. This includes several tournaments, with trips to New York, Alabama and Texas.
“We’re all really excited for the season,” Li said. “We’ve been training really hard for the season, and it’s the biggest team we’ve had. We’re all looking forward to competing next to each other and playing some incredibly good sets in the hopes of having a great 2015 season.”
The women’s team will have the weekend off before competing in the ECAC championship in Ithaca, New York the weekend of Feb. 6.