The Yale men’s tennis team dropped its two games in the opening weekend of Ivy League play.
On Friday, the Bulldogs (10–7, 0–2 Ivy) faced off against Dartmouth (16–5, 2–1), who had lost 4–0 to Harvard (19–3, 3–0) the week before. This time, however, Dartmouth prevailed in a 5–2 win over Yale. The Elis rallied for another game just two days later, this time against the Crimson, but they came up just short in a close 4–3 match against their Cambridge rivals.
“The team competed with extraordinary grit as we’ve done all season,” head coach Alex Dorato said. “I think we caught Harvard a little by surprise by coming back so strong in the singles [on Sunday]. To almost beat the No. 28 team in the country on the road took a great effort.”
In Friday’s match, Dartmouth quickly set the tone with two wins in the doubles competition. Dartmouth’s No. 55–ranked pairing of David Horneffer and Charlie Broom defeated Fedor Andrienko ’18 and captain Stefan Doehler ’18 at No. 1, 6–1. Dartmouth also tallied a 6–3 win, this time at the No. 2 spot against Ryan Cheng ’20 and Dylan King ’20 to secure the doubles point.
Moving into singles, Dartmouth took a 2–0 lead with a 6–3, 6–3 win at No. 1 against King. Although the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard when No. 4 Dennis Wang ’19 defeated his opponent 6–3, 6–1. However, Dartmouth secured two more wins at No. 6 and No. 3, 6–2, 6–4 and 6–3, 7–6 respectively.
Yale upped its win tally to two with a victory by No. 5 Andrienko 6–3, 6–3. But it was Dartmouth that walked away with the team victory, as No. 2 Andrew Heller ’20 fell short in a hard-fought, three-set match against his Dartmouth opponent, 3–6, 7–5, 13–11.
“Even though we ultimately came up short, I’m proud of the way the guys fought through the entirety of the match,” Doehler said. “Even though we lost the doubles point early on, everyone went into their singles match believing they could win and it definitely showed.”
Against the Crimson, the Elis came up just short in a grueling tit-for-tat match. To start it off, Harvard won the doubles point its duo of Kenny Tao and Logan Weber clinched a 6–4 victory over Andrienko and Doehler. The doubles point was secured when a new Crimson pairing won 6–2 over No. 3 Wang and Heller.
In singles, the Elis came back to build a 2–1 lead, with wins by No. 4 Wang 6–4, 6–1 and No. 1 King 6–4, 6–4. But Harvard managed to respond, as No. 2 Heller fell 6–3, 6–3 to his opponent. No. 5 Andrienko fought back for the Bulldogs with a 6–3, 6–4 victory, followed by a Crimson win at No. 6 to draw the team match level at three points apiece.
In the deciding match at the No. 3 spot, Doehler got off to a good start, winning the first set 6–3. However, first year Robert Wrzesinski won the next two sets 6–1, 6–2 to mark his 10th straight singles win. Harvard, on a five-game win streak, has won all 11 of its home games this season, with two of its four remaining games to be played in Cambridge.
“Going forward, our goal is to take it one match at a time and compete as hard as we can each time,” Dorato said. “Although every team in the league is very strong this year, we believe that if we play and compete well then we can beat anyone on a given day.”
The Bulldogs are set to take on Princeton in New Jersey on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Cate Sawkins | firstname.lastname@example.org