Steve Musco

The Yale men’s tennis team took to the road this weekend in hopes of regaining its footing in Ivy League play after conceding its conference opener to Brown, but dropped to 0–3 in the conference after suffering 4–0 defeats to both Columbia and Cornell.

The Bulldogs (11–9, 0–3 Ivy) embarked on their first away competitions of the Ivy season, travlling to the Empire State. Against No. 16 Columbia (12–3, 2–0) on Saturday, the Elis endured a 4–0 shutout to one of the top teams in the country before travelling to Ithaca only to be swept again by the Big Red (11–8, 2–0) on Sunday. The loss to the Lions also marked the Elis’ first scoreless outing since February.

“Columbia and Cornell were definitely two of the toughest teams in the Ivy League on our schedule for the year,” Ryan Cheng ’20 said. “A lot of our guys came out a bit flat to start the weekend, and against good teams, it’s really tough to bounce back from slow starts. Each of us definitely took several things from each match to work on this week before this weekend against Harvard and Dartmouth.”

The Elis opened the weekend by facing off against their toughest opponent of their conference slate and possibly the entire season — nationally-ranked Columbia. In Light Blue territory, the Elis fell in a blowout as the Lions won every set at Dick Savitt Tennis Center. The Lions asserted themselves early on in the doubles competition No. 1 Cheng and Cody Lin ’21 fell 6–4 to Columbia’s Jack Lin and William Matheson, while No. 2 Nathan Brown ’19 and Dylan King ’20 fell 6–2 to their opponents.

Moving onto singles, the Elis attempted to claim a crucial point, but the Lions continued to keep the Bulldogs at bay. Columbia picked up victories in the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 6 spots to secure the 4–0 match win. At No. 1, King fell 6–1, 6–2 to Columbia’s nationally ranked No. 38 Pham. At No. 3 and No. 6, Lin and Alan Sou ’21 also lost to their opponents 6–0, 6–2, and 6–0, 6–2, respectively. Notably out of the Yale lineup again was five-star recruit Michael Sun ’22, who continues to sit out with a shoulder injury.

“Staying healthy is our top priority, as we currently have multiple players sidelined and nursing injuries,” King said.

On Sunday, the Bulldogs ventured upstate to take on Cornell. Against the Big Red, the Elis struggled to put up a point, falling to their opponent 4–0 for the second straight time. To start off the duel, the Big Red claimed the doubles point after emerging victorious in all three matches. At the top spot, nationally ranked No. 40 Daniel Soyfer and David Volfson defeated Yale’s duo of Cheng and Lin 6–2. At No. 2, Brown and King fell 6–2 as well while the No. 3 Arnav Dhingra ’22 and Andrew Heller ’20 pairing suffered a 6–1 defeat.

In the singles competition, the Big Red snatched wins at the No. 2, No. 4 and No. 5 spots to secure the four-point sweep. No. 2 Cheng lost to his opponent 6–1, 6–3, while Dhingra kept the No. 4 match close but also came up short 6–3, 6–4. The match marked Cornell’s fourth shutout in the last five games and Yale’s second scoreless match in a row.

Overall, both the Lions and Big Red advanced through the weekend undefeated to sit atop the Ancient Eight standings at 2–0, while the Elis remain without a win in Ivy play. The Bulldogs still have four remaining league contests before the conclusion of the regular season.

“Going into [the weekend], we are trying to prepare as best we can by taking care of ourselves, getting plenty of rest and individually tuning up a few things to push our games a little further,” Heller said.

The Bulldogs next take on Harvard this Friday at 2 p.m. before traveling to Dartmouth on Sunday for a 1 p.m. match.

Cate Sawkins |