Team Seeking to Improve on Best Start in 11 Years
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Off to its best start in 11 years at 4-0, the Yale men's tennis team takes aim at an ECAC Indoor Championship this weekend at Dartmouth's Boss Tennis Center. The Bulldogs are the No. 8 seed, which pits them against their ancient rival Harvard -- the top seed -- in the opening round Friday at 6 p.m.
Yale had last weekend off after a successful foray to Virginia, where the Bulldogs knocked off Old Dominion and William & Mary. Alex Dorato, Yale's Cary Leeds Coach of Men's Tennis, became the winningest coach in school history with the 5-2 victory over Old Dominion. That was the 244th win of his career, putting him past John Skillman on Yale's all-time list.
After a frustrating 2011 season that saw Yale lose eight matches by a score of 4-3, the Bulldogs have kept things much more decidedly in their favor this season. No team has won more than two points against Yale this spring, and the Bulldogs are undefeated in doubles points (10-2 in doubles matches).
Junior John Huang (Irvine, Calif.) and freshman Zachary Krumholz (Palm Beach, Fla.) are both 4-0 in singles play, with each victory coming in straight sets. Huang has played at No. 2 three times and No. 1 once; Krumholz has split his time between No. 4 and No. 6. Marc Powers (Stamford, Conn.), Yale's No. 1, is 3-0 in singles.
Powers and classmate Daniel Hoffman (Atherton, Calif.) have combined to form Yale's top doubles team, and they are 3-0 so far this year (ranked No. 3 in the Northeast). Their last loss was to a team from Princeton in the semifinals of the USTA/ITA Northeast Regional Championship last fall.
In addition to Harvard, the field at the ECAC Indoor Championship also includes five other Ivy League teams, so this weekend will provide a good gauge of where Yale stands with the start of league play only seven weeks away.
Harvard is one of three nationally ranked teams in the tournament. The Crimson are currently No. 60, while Cornell is No. 50 and Princeton is No. 70. The Crimson is 7-1 heading into Friday's matchup.
Cornell, the defending ECAC Indoor and Ivy League champion, is the No. 2 seed in the tournament and beat Yale 4-3 when the two teams met last spring in Ithaca. The Big Red just snapped a four-match losing streak and is 3-4 overall this year.
St. John's, the No. 3 seed, is a team Yale is familiar with from the past -- the Red Storm was one of those teams that beat the Bulldogs 4-3 last year in the regular season, and St. John's also beat Yale 5-2 in last year's ECAC Indoor Championship. The Red Storm's Vasko Mladenov is the lone player ranked ahead of Powers in the most recent Northeast Region rankings.
No. 4 seed Princeton features the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year in Matija Pecotic, whose win at No. 1 singles last year helped the Tigers to a 4-3 win over Yale. Princeton is just 2-4 so far this season.
Host Dartmouth, the No. 5 seed, is 6-0 this year. The Big Green is led by Xander Centenari, who is ranked No. 5 in singles in the Northeast. He was a first team All-Ivy League selection in doubles and a second team All-Ivy selection in singles last year.
Sixth-seeded Brown was one of only two teams to win six or more points last spring against the Bulldogs. The Bears are 6-2 this year.
Columbia, the No. 7 seed, has won two of the last three Ivy League championships. At 4-0, the Lions join Dartmouth and Yale as the only undefeated Ancient Eight teams this year.
Day One – Friday, February 17
Match 1 - No. 3 St. John's vs. No. 6 Brown (8:00 a.m.)
Match 2 - No. 2 Cornell vs. No. 7 Columbia (11:30 a.m.)
Match 3 - No. 4 Princeton vs. No. 5 Dartmouth (3:00 p.m.)
Match 4 - No. 1 Harvard vs. No.8 Yale (6:00 p.m.)
Day Two – Saturday, February 18
Match 5 - Match 1 Loser vs. Match 2 Loser (8:00 a.m.)
Match 6 - Match 3 Loser vs. Match 4 Loser (11:30 a.m.)
Match 7 - Match 1 Winner vs. Match 2 Winner (3:00 p.m.)
Match 8 - Match 3 Winner vs. Match 4 Winner (6:00 p.m.)
Day Three – Sunday, February 19
Match 9 - Match 5 Loser vs. Match 6 Loser (8:00 a.m.) (7th-8th Place)
Match 10 - Match 5 Winner vs. Match 6 Winner (10:00 a.m.) (5th-6th Place)
Match 11 - Match 7 Loser vs. Match 8 Loser (12:30 p.m.) (3rd-4th Place)
Match 12 - Match 7 Winner vs. Match 8 Winner (2:30 p.m.) (Championship)
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity