At the beginning of a monthlong stretch of nonconference competition for both squads, the Yale men’s and women’s tennis teams finished off the month of February with a combined four wins and zero losses this past weekend.
The Eli women (4–5, 0–0 Ivy) extended their winning streak to four with home wins over Massachusetts, Fairfield and Long Island University, including dominant 7–0 victories in the latter two matchups. Meanwhile, the Yale men’s team (5–4, 0–0) rebounded from a seventh-place showing at the ECAC Championships last week by defeating Furman 5–2 in Greenville, South Carolina for head coach Alex Dorato’s 300th career win at Yale.
“Every match we’ve improved, and I think we’re only going to get better,” women’s captain Ree Ree Li ’16 said. “We definitely haven’t peaked yet, which is what we want since Ivy season doesn’t start until April.”
The Yale women’s team’s Friday match was the Bulldogs’ closest, as UMass (5–6, 0–0 A-10) managed to take two individual matches from the Elis at the No. 2 and 4 positions. The Bulldogs sealed the team victory with wins elsewhere in the lineup, including a 3–0 doubles record that featured all matches decided by just two sets. In singles play, a close 7–6, 4–6, 1–0(8) victory for No. 1 Tina Jiang ’17 was perhaps the most exciting match of the day.
The Elis returned to play on Sunday for a pair of straightforward 7–0 victories, with almost every match also being a lopsided win. Against Fairfield (1–8, 0–0 MAAC), Yale’s lineup combined to win 72 of 74 singles games and 18 of 20 doubles games, and the Bulldogs’ match against LIU (0–5, 0–0 NEC) hours later, despite Yale playing with a different lineup, was only slightly closer.
In that match, Yale was victorious in 65 of 83 singles games and 18 of 23 doubles games. The only set loss for Yale on the day came at the No. 1 spot against LIU, where Sherry Li ’17, who moved up from the No. 2 spot and was playing in her fourth match of the weekend, dropped her first set 4–6 before rallying for 6–1 and 1–0(2) wins in the final two sets.
“I think we went into the [LIU] match confident that we would win, but we also recognized that anything could happen any day,” Ree Ree Li said. “So it was important for us to compete hard and take the opportunities we had.”
Playing on Saturday in much warmer weather, the Yale men started their match against Furman (3–5, 0–0 SoCon) with a strong showing in doubles. Captain Jason Brown ’16 and Alex Hagermoser ’17 overcame Furman’s Cameron Green and Adam Steryous 6–2, and Photos Photiades ’17 and Martin Svenning ’16 clinched the doubles point with another win for Yale, also winning by a 6–2 margin at the No. 3 doubles spot. Yale’s Fedor Andrienko ’18 and Stefan Doehler ’18 lost 6-4 at the No. 1 spot, but this did not affect Yale’s victory.
“We played with a lot of energy and really picked each other up when we were down,” Brown said. “We came out firing in doubles which helped set the tone for the match, and competed well throughout.”
Furman initially proved to be a stronger opponent in singles, with the match going back and forth as the first three individual matches finished. The Paladins began with a 6–0, 6–1 victory over Dennis Wang ’19 at the No. 4 spot, and Hagermoser followed by winning 6–3, 6–4 at the No. 2 singles position. Furman’s Adam Steryous challenged back, defeating senior Svenning 6–2, 6–2 in the No. 1 spot to make the overall score 2–2.
Yale then won its next three matches with victories from Andrienko, Brown and Photiades at the No. 3, 5 and 6 spots, respectively. The final stretch, which included Brown’s fourth-straight singles victory, secured a 5–2 victory over Furman for Yale.
“I was very pleased with the way the team competed,” Dorato said. “We had a great attitude staying focused and fighting hard in the face of difficult circumstances: playing outdoors for the first time since September, [playing with] no windscreens which made it difficult to see the ball from one side of the court and playing without a few of our usual starters.”
The Yale men’s team next plays Bryant at home on Saturday, while the women are off until a home match with Stony Brook on March 5.