Yale Begins Ivy League Play on the Road

Joel Samaha. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Joel Samaha. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Elis Travel to Penn, Princeton

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After nearly pulling off an upset against No. 58 St. John's at home on Saturday, the Yale men's tennis team hits the road to play its opening two matches of the Ivy League season this upcoming weekend.  The Bulldogs will look to build on their recent success in away matches when they play at Penn at 2 p.m. on Saturday and then at Princeton at the same time on Sunday.

Yale (11-6) goes into its first two Ivy League matches having won its last four away matches.  The last time the Bulldogs lost on the road was against No. 11 Stanford.  Also, the Bulldogs are undefeated against unranked opponents this season.

The story for the Elis continues to be their exceptional doubles play.  Yale swept the doubles against St. John's and has won the doubles point in its last five matches.  At No. 1 doubles, the nationally ranked No. 67 team of juniors Daniel Hoffman and Marc Powers clinched the doubles point against St. John's with a 9-7 win.  This tandem is currently on a four-match winning streak and has only lost twice this season (12-2).  The duo is also the third highest ranked Ivy League doubles team.  At No. 2 doubles, sophomore Patrick Chase and junior John Huang look to maintain their formidable form that has seen them drop only 12 games in their last four matches as a team.  After being sidelined for last weekend's match, senior Joel Samaha may return to the line-up at No. 3 doubles with classmate and team captain Erik Blumenkranz.  The seniors look to begin their final Ivy League season on a strong note.

Yale's No. 1 singles player, Powers, enters Ivy League play ranked No. 118 in the country.  He is the third highest ranked Ivy League singles player. Playing at No. 2, Hoffman saw his nine-match winning streak come to an end on Saturday against St. John's.  Still, however, he has won nine of his last 10 matches and remains one of the Bulldogs' most reliable players.  Huang is perhaps the most in-form player on the team at the moment, having won his last five matches in straight sets.  Freshman Zachary Krumholz brings an eight-match winning streak at the No. 6 spot into his first Ivy League season match.  Blumenkranz and sophomore Kyle Dawson look to rebound this weekend after tough singles losses to the Red Storm.

Penn (8-6, 0-1 Ivy League) was narrowly defeated in its Ivy opener by Princeton, 4-3.  The Quakers will be hungry for a win at home, as they are only 3-3 at home for the season and are on a two-match losing streak.  Yale defeated Penn 5-2 last season, though four of the singles matches went the distance.

With its win over Penn on Saturday, Princeton (10-8, 1-0 Ivy League) is currently on a three-match winning streak.  Like the Bulldogs, the Tigers play two matches in two days this weekend, as they face Brown on Saturday before playing Yale on Sunday.  Princeton features the No. 65 singles player in the country and 2011 Ivy League Player of the Year Matija Pecotic, as well as the No. 40 ranked doubles team of Matt Siow and Matt Spindler.  Yale and Princeton met at the ECAC Indoor Championship in mid-February, with Princeton (ranked No. 70 at the time) emerging victorious, 4-1.  The match between these teams last season saw Princeton edge Yale 4-3 by winning four singles matches, though Yale swept the doubles.

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity