February 28, 2013

No. 49 Yale Back in Action at Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center

Bulldogs Look to Maintain Undefeated Record at Home  

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A refreshed and recharged Yale men's tennis team returns home this weekend having cracked the top 50 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division I rankings this week.  No. 49 Yale (6-2) will engage three other schools—Fairleigh Dickinson, Marist and Stony Brook—in singles and doubles competition on Saturday and Sunday.  Doubles play against Fairleigh Dickinson begins at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.  Singles play against Fairleigh Dickinson will start soon thereafter, and singles matches against Marist will get underway at 4:00 p.m. Saturday.

Two weeks ago, the Bulldogs showed grit in defeating Ivy League rival Brown and then George Washington to secure a fifth-place finish at the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division I Indoor Team Championship.  In addition to inducing Yale's significant rise in the rankings, this result puts the Elis on a two-match winning streak going into this weekend's trio of matches.  Yale is also on a three-match winning streak at home so far this season, having defeated Fairfield, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart all in the same weekend in January.  Furthermore, the squad's 6-2 record so far this season is an improvement over its win-loss mark at this point last year, which was 4-3. 

The main reason for Yale's success at the ECAC Championship was its ability to make a stark turnaround in doubles after having struggled in this area against No. 23 Harvard in its opening round match.  Against Brown, ranked No. 61 at the time, the Bulldogs' No. 3 pairing of senior Zachary Dean and sophomore Matt Saiontz was able to play well under pressure to secure an 8-7(5) victory and the doubles point, which proved to be the crucial difference in that match's final tally.  Yale's No. 1 duo of senior captain Daniel Hoffman and classmate Marc Powers, ranked No. 59 in the nation, also contributed to that win over Brown and will lead the doubles effort in this weekend's tripleheader.  The No. 2 tandem of junior Patrick Chase and senior John Huang will look to get back on track after dropping both of its doubles matches in Ithaca, N.Y.

A solid showing in singles was also vital to the Bulldogs' pair of wins at the ECAC Championship.  Yale's top three players—Hoffman, Huang and Powers—led the way in a triumph over Brown and a clean sweep of George Washington.  These experienced seniors combined for a perfect 7-0 record in singles at Cornell's Reis Tennis Center.  Dean, sophomore Zachary Krumholz and freshmen Jason Brown and Martin Svenning will all be looking to make a positive contribution to Yale's efforts in singles play on Saturday and Sunday. 

The Elis will likely draw confidence from last year's Round Robin weekend, in which they largely overwhelmed the same three schools—Fairleigh Dickinson, Marist and Stony Brook—all by a final score of 6-1. 

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity