February 13, 2013

Bulldogs to Face Ivy League Rivals at ECAC Indoor Championship

Yale Starts against No. 47 Harvard  

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's tennis team travels to Ithaca, N.Y., this weekend to compete in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division I Indoor Team Championship, hosted by Cornell.  This is an important event for the Bulldogs, as seven out of the eight schools in the draw are in the Ivy League, with the only exception being No. 7 seed George Washington.  Seeded No. 8, the Elis have a tough opening round match against No. 47 Harvard, the defending champion and top seed.  This match will take place at Cornell's Reis Tennis Center on Friday at 6:00 p.m.   

The ECAC tournament will be the Bulldogs' only chance to play against their Ancient Eight rivals before conference competition in April.  The other Ivy League schools in the draw besides Harvard and Yale are No. 42 Columbia, No. 59 Dartmouth, No. 61 Brown, No. 64 Princeton and No. 73 Cornell.  Though the Bulldogs had their four-match winning streak broken by Middle Tennessee State last Sunday, they will want to reassert themselves this weekend, as the ECAC Championship often foreshadows the Ivy League stretch to come.  Last season, Harvard won the ECAC tournament and then went on to clinch the Ivy League title.    

The Crimson are riding a wave of confidence at the moment, having scored two consecutive upsets against No. 33 Northwestern and No. 40 Vanderbilt.  The Elis will want to stunt this momentum with a strong showing in doubles.  The senior duo of captain Daniel Hoffman and Marc Powers, ranked No. 39 in the nation, will need to be in peak form.  This tandem's efforts will be complemented by Yale's No. 2 doubles team of junior Patrick Chase and senior John Huang.  Senior Zachary Dean and sophomore Matt Saiontz played at No. 3 doubles in the Bulldogs' last two matches.

Despite the mixed results from their weekend in Tennessee, the Elis fought hard in singles, with most players in the lineup posting at least one win.  Dean, Hoffman, Huang and Powers will all look to use their experience to lead their team to victory, just as they did in the match against Alabama-Birmingham.  These veterans will receive support from two talented underclassmen, freshman Jason Brown, who scored an impressive three-set win in the match against Middle Tennessee State, and sophomore Zachary Krumholz.    

Ultimately, the Bulldogs will want to bring about a reversal of their fortunes at last year's ECAC Championship, where they suffered losses to Columbia, Harvard and Princeton.

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity

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