Yale to Face No. 37 Columbia, Cornell at Home
Elis Look to Extend Doubles Point Winning Streak
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After a weekend on the road with mixed results, the Yale men's tennis team hopes to put in a strong performance at home this upcoming weekend in its next two Ivy League matches. The Bulldogs bring a 5-1 home record into their match against No. 37 Columbia on Saturday at 2 p.m. Yale then plays Cornell on Sunday at the same time.
Yale (12-7, 1-1 Ivy League) experienced mixed success last weekend with a 5-2 win against Penn on Saturday followed by a narrow 4-3 loss to Princeton on Sunday. That both of these matches could have gone either way reflects the reality of a very competitive Ivy League this season. Indeed, the Bulldogs are currently in a three-way tie for 3rd place along with No. 24 Harvard and No. 62 Dartmouth. Though it will be a tall order to face No. 37 Columbia and Cornell in back-to-back days, the Bulldogs will be able to draw upon the success they have had this season when playing on their own familiar blue courts.
Yale will also be able to draw upon its stalwart doubles line-up that has secured the doubles point in the team's last seven matches. At No. 1 doubles, the nationally ranked No. 80 team of juniors Daniel Hoffman and Marc Powers boasts a 13-3 season record and is undefeated against unranked opponents. Neither Columbia nor Cornell has a ranked doubles team. Yale's No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Patrick Chase and junior John Huang continues to anchor the Bulldogs' doubles success. The pair has won its last seven matches, coinciding with the Elis' seven-match doubles point winning streak. The No. 3 team of senior captain Erik Blumenkranz and classmate Joel Samaha is also riding a wave of confidence going into this weekend's matches, having won its match against Princeton after saving match point.
Armed with a strong foundation in doubles, the Bulldogs look to establish an equally strong foundation in singles. Yale's No. 1 singles player, Powers, returns home having notched an important three-set victory over Penn's Ivan Turudic on Saturday. Hoffman and Huang continue to anchor the Bulldogs' singles line-up. Hoffman opened his Ivy League season with a pair of wins against Penn and Princeton. He has won 11 of his last 12 matches, the sole exception being a narrow three-set loss to Milo Hauk of No. 57 St. John's. Huang is the only player on Yale's team to have yet to drop a set in Ivy League play. He is in excellent form, having won his last seven matches, all in straight sets. In addition, he has won all six of his matches on Yale's courts this season in straight sets. Blumenkranz goes into this weekend having played two grueling three-set matches in his first two Ivy League matches, with mixed results. Rounding out singles, sophomore Kyle Dawson and freshman Zachary Krumholz look to rebound this weekend after tough Ivy openers.
With a win against No. 37 Columbia (16-2, 3-0 Ivy League), the Elis not only would hand Columbia its first Ivy League loss of the season, but also would end the Lions' 12-match winning streak dating back to a mid-February loss to none other than No. 57 St. John's. Columbia's team features No. 96 Haig Schneiderman, who anchors a strong line-up that managed to win five of six singles matches last Sunday against No. 24 Harvard. Yale and Columbia met at the ECAC Indoor Championship in mid-February, with the Lions emerging victorious, 3-2. Last season's match between these two teams saw Columbia edge Yale by a score of 4-3.
Cornell (7-14, 0-3 Ivy League) has yet to win an Ivy League match this season, but two of those three matches were 4-3 losses. The Big Red travels to face Brown on Saturday before playing the Bulldogs on Sunday. Yale will look to reverse last season's result against Cornell that saw the Big Red sweep the doubles and then split the singles to take a 4-3 victory over the Elis.
Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity