Bulldogs Ready to Get Spring Season Underway

Daniel Hoffman. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Daniel Hoffman. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale to Test Form Against No. 48 Brown in Preseason Scrimmage

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's tennis team heads into the second half of its 2012-13 season on the heels of a successful fall campaign that saw triumphs from the squad's veterans and rookies alike.  When the Bulldogs last competed back in late October at the Connecticut State Championships, they put on a dominant display that resulted in several Elis having to battle it out against each other at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center in all-Yale singles and doubles semifinals.  They will be no inter-team competitive matches in the upcoming months, however, as the Elis are set to face off against several opposing schools between now and late March, all in preparation for the Ivy League stretch in April.  The Bulldogs' first taste of team play in 2013 comes on Monday at 12:00 p.m., when they take on No. 48 Brown in a friendly scrimmage at home. 

The 2011-12 season saw Yale compile a 13-11 winning record.  The Bulldogs will be looking to improve on that win-loss mark this year, in addition to eyeing an Ivy League title.  If the first half of this season is any indication, the outlook is promising.  The Elis' performance in the fall part of the season showed that Yale's squad has great depth, as each player's individual talent and work ethic promises to help the team achieve collective success in 2013.  The Bulldogs' efforts will be led by senior captain Daniel Hoffman and his veteran classmates, Zachary Dean, John Huang and Marc Powers.  These four players have all made impressive contributions to the team during their time as Bulldogs, and they will want to conclude their Yale careers on a high note.  The Elis' squad is firmly anchored by a strong junior class, as well as a dependable sophomore class.  Two extremely talented freshmen round out the twelve-member roster. 

Perhaps the most tangible indication that the Bulldogs did indeed put together a strong fall season is that Yale's top doubles team of Hoffman and Powers heads into 2013 ranked No. 19 in the nation.  As the third-highest ranked Ivy League doubles pairing, the senior duo will certainly be a team to watch in the months to come.  Not only do Hoffman and Powers together possess a formidable amount of doubles prowess, but also they have a great deal of experience, which, in high-pressure situations, can often mean the difference between victory and defeat.  As such, these two seniors will lead the Bulldogs' charge to win the all-important doubles point in their upcoming matches.  Huang and junior Patrick Chase also enjoyed success as a doubles team in the fall, reaching the final of the 'A' doubles draw at the Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational, as well as the final of the Connecticut State Championships.  This reliable tandem will play a central role in Yale's efforts to win the doubles point.

The Bulldogs are set to field a deep singles line-up this year, led by Hoffman, Huang and Powers.  Hoffman's consistent fall season culminated in a run to the final of the Connecticut State Championships.  Powers also showed good form in singles, going 7-2 and reaching the quarterfinals of the United States Tennis Association (USTA)/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Northeast Regional Championships.  Meanwhile, Huang, who was playing at the No. 1 singles spot by the end of last year's spring season, put together a 10-5 win-loss record in the first part of the season, highlighted by a victory over Vasko Mladenov of St. John's, who was ranked No. 38 at the time of their USTA Collegiate Invitational semifinal match.

Without doubt, Yale's breakout star in the fall was freshman Jason Brown, who strung together an impressive 12-match winning streak to start the season, winning his draws at both the Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational and the USTA Collegiate Invitational, his debut tournaments as a collegiate tennis player.  He capped off his 17-1 first half of the season in style, defeating Hoffman to win the singles title at the Connecticut State Championships.  Brown also displayed his versatility by partnering with classmate Martin Svenning to make the final of their doubles draw at the USTA Collegiate Invitational.  For his part, Svenning also showcased promising talent in his first semester as a Bulldog, compiling a 9-4 singles record to complement his successes in doubles with Brown.

The ever-dependable junior Kyle Dawson will seek to build on his consistent singles and doubles campaigns in the first half of the season.  He will look to get off to a strong start in 2013 just like he did in the fall when he partnered with Dean to win the 'C' doubles draw at the Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational and also made the semifinals of his singles draw in that tournament.  Moreover, Dawson's passion for tennis will prove valuable in motivating team spirit during the season.  Dawson's classmate, Tommy Ratchford, also showed his reliability in the fall, as he put together a winning record in singles and went undefeated at the Yale Shootout.

Sophomore Daniel Faierman also heads into 2013 on the heels of a successful first part of the season, with a victory in the final of the 'E' draw at the USTA Collegiate Invitational underlying a notable 13-5 singles win-loss mark.  Faierman also teamed up with classmate Zachary Krumholz to make the doubles semifinals of the Connecticut State Championships.  Krumholz himself posted a stout 7-2 singles record, highlighted by his run to the semifinals of the 'E' draw at the USTA Collegiate Invitational.  Finally, sophomore Matt Saiontz goes into 2013 drawing confidence from going undefeated in singles and doubles at the Yale Shootout in the fall.

Alex Dorato, Cary Leeds Head Coach of Men's Tennis, continues his 21st season at the helm of the Elis' squad.  Dorato is assisted by Christian Appleman.

Though boasting a roster with a wealth of talent, the Elis will certainly have their work cut out for them once the Ivy League stretch arrives.  Six of the Ancient Eight schools begin 2013 with national rankings, led by Harvard at No. 28.  Though Monday's scrimmage against Brown does not count in Yale's overall record, it will likely give the Bulldogs a fairly accurate sense of the caliber of the competition this year.  The scrimmage will also allow Yale's players to work themselves back into form, so that they can be in peak shape in time for their first competitive test against Quinnipiac on Jan. 26.      

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity