Nina Lindberg

Following a disappointing result against William and Mary this past weekend, the Yale men’s tennis team looks to have a huge showing in its three matches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at home against Old Dominion, Navy and Western Michigan.

Yale (2–4, 0–0 Ivy) fell to William and Mary (6–1, 1–0 CAA) in a 1–6 overall defeat last Friday. Still, the Bulldogs have a shot at redemption against the Monarchs (9–1, 0–0 C-USA) on Friday, the Midshipmen (11–3, 0–0 Patriot League) on Saturday and Broncos (8–5, 0–0 MAC) on Sunday. Three wins this weekend would see the Elis top the .500 mark, a potentially huge momentum boost for the rest of the season.

“We knew we were facing a tough opponent in William and Mary, especially being down two of our top players [Dylan King ’20 and Andrew Heller ’20],” Cody Lin ’21 said. “Despite the 1-6 scoreline, the match was definitely closer than it seemed; even though I was the only one to pull out a win, we were just a point from winning the doubles match and were in a few of the other singles matches as well. Looking forward to this weekend, we’re definitely hungry to get back on the winning side with the three matches coming up. All three teams are traveling to play us at home, so hopefully we can use that to our advantage and play with more confidence. It will undoubtedly be a challenging weekend, but we’re excited as always for another opportunity to compete and refine our game.”

Yale is currently competing in a resurgent Ivy League conference that features four nationally ranked teams, according to a recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association national poll. Columbia was listed as the No. 7 team in the nation, joined by No. 14 Harvard, No. 16 Cornell and No. 25 Dartmouth. Yale has yet to enter into its heated league play which makes this big out of conference weekend all the more valuable.

The William and Mary match, while a tough defeat, put many positive signs on display for the Bulldogs going forward. Lin easily handled his opponent Sebastian Quiros 6–4, 6–2 in what was a major highlight for the team. Lin then teamed up with Ryan Cheng ’20 to take down the duo of Joseph Brailovsky and Chen Ruo at the No. 2 doubles spot for the Bulldogs’ second victory of the day. In the end, William and Mary triumphed 6–1 over the Elis.

Old Dominion was a significant challenge for Yale last season, so the Bulldogs will be out for revenge this time around. In 2019, Yale fell 4–0 to the Big Blue in a lopsided match. Old Dominion has had an impressive season so far, but Yale will still be looking for a victory. With a win on Friday, Yale would snap Big Blue’s six game winning streak.

“I think this weekend is going to be a good test for us because we’re playing three matches back to back to back against some good teams,” Michael Sun ’22 said. “It’s also a good opportunity for us to get some momentum going.”

Following the Friday match, the Elis will square off against Navy. The Midshipmen have mustered an impressive 11 wins so far this year but have shown a consistent weakness against Ivy opposition. Navy fell 1–6 to Dartmouth in mid-January before being bested 0–7 by Penn just under a week later. The Bulldogs will look to continue this trend by handing the Midshipmen another Ancient Eight defeat.

The final tie of the weekend will take place on Sunday against Western Michigan. The Broncos sit at 8–5 but have played an exceedingly difficult schedule thus far. The team took on then No. 16 Michigan, giving the Wolverines a run for their money in a eventual 2–4 loss. Western Michigan took on No. 11 UCLA a week and a half later, losing that match 0–7. Despite the middling record, the Broncos will require full effort from the Elis if the home team wants to eke out a win.

“We are looking to bounce back after a tough match last week, and after a week of solid training I think we will compete well against all three teams this weekend,” Heller said. “Hopefully everyone is healthy and ready to pick it back up on Friday.”

The Bulldogs start the weekend of matches against Old Dominion at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Eamonn Smith | eamonn.smith@yale.edu