TENNIS: Bulldogs battle through Indiana
Yale’s men’s and women’s tennis teams suffered their first losses of the regular season, but they remain hopeful for a winning season.
Courtesy of Sam Rubin
Last weekend, the Yale’s men’s (3–1, 0–0 Ivy) and women’s (2–2, 0–0) tennis teams travelled to Indiana, where the men took on Butler University (3–3, 0–0 Big East) and Indiana University (3–1, 0–0 Big Ten), and the women competed against the Hoosiers (2–1, 0–0) and Notre Dame University (5–2, 0–0 Atlantic Coast).
Both teams were originally scheduled to travel to Indiana on Thursday, but travel was interrupted due to a major winter storm throughout The Hoosier State. The men’s squad arrived at their hotel around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday night, less than 24 hours before their first match Friday afternoon. The women’s squad delayed travel until Friday, where they still faced hours of delays before their Saturday afternoon contests.
“The guys showed up the next morning for our hit, excited, enthusiastic and they played with great energy,” said Chris Drake, the men’s team’s head coach. Drake expressed his appreciation for the way that his players were willing to give their all for the matches, despite the inconvenience caused by the storm.
Drake also shared that, going into the matches, the team was hesitant and unsure of how their abilities stacked up against their first Power Five opponent. However, he said they realized that they “deserve to play with confidence every time out there.”
Renaud Lefevre ’24 also recognized his team’s growth in confidence and how they have “gotten much better at trusting [their] playing and competing without hesitation.”
The men opened the weekend with a 6–1 win over Butler on Friday afternoon. Although the team lost (3–4) to Indiana on Saturday, the team’s competitive line-up kept up with the Hoosiers. Walker Oberg ’25 came back from being down a set to eventually win his Saturday singles match. The Massachusetts native noted his appreciation for his team members’ support as he was the last match to finish. The team also travelled without their captain, Arnav Dhingra ’22, and volunteer assistant coach Ryan Cheng. According to Oberg, he was proud of how the team handled this adversity and looks “forward to their return next weekend.”
The women fought hard against the Hoosiers and the Fighting Irish, but lost 3–4 and 1–6, respectively. Mirabelle Brettkelly ’25 suggested that her team has room to improve in “bouncing back faster when [its] opponents are up a few games” and in “adjusting [its] game plans,” when necessary.
However, Brettkelly noted her team’s positive “energy across all courts” as a contributing factor in the team’s impressive performance this weekend against tough opponents.
Shervin Dehmoubed ’25 echoed Brettkelly’s sentiments on the energy and cheering at the teams’ matches. He believes that his team’s enthusiasm, and that of Oberg in particular, “turned out to be a pretty important factor” in his team’s success.
Collegiate tennis matches consist of three lines of doubles and six lines of singles, with the victor of each singles match winning a point and the doubles point going to the team that wins the majority of the doubles lines.
This weekend, Michael Sun ’23 and Cody Lin ’22 played the first line of doubles for the men’s team, followed by Aidan Reilly ’25 with Theo Dean ’24 and Luke Neal ’25 with Lefevre. Sun also played the first line of singles on both days. On Friday, he was followed by Lin, Dean, Reilly, Dehmoubed and Neal. On Saturday, the Trumbull junior was joined by Lin, Dean, Reilly, Lefevre and Oberg.
Chelsea Kung ’23 and Jessie Gong ’22 led the women’s team in doubles, followed by Caroline Dunleavy ’22 with Kathy Wang ’22 and Brettkelly with Rhea Shrivastava ’23. Kung also led the team in singles, followed by Dunleavy, Gong, Brettkelly, Shrivastava and Vivian Cheng ’23. The team’s lineup remained unchanged across both days of competition.
Despite breaking their winning streaks, both teams remain optimistic of a winning season.
This weekend, the men will take on St. John’s University on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Boston University on Sunday at 11 a.m. The women will travel to Ithaca, New York for the ECAC Championship.