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Bulldogs Set for Busy Weekend at Home

Photo by Steve Musco.
Photo by Steve Musco.

Yale to Host NJIT and Marist on Saturday, Fairfield on Sunday

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After securing a memorable 4-3 win over Elon in its last match, the Yale men's tennis team will look to extend its four-match win streak this weekend by hosting a trio of regional opponents: Fairfield (Sunday), Marist (Saturday) and NJIT (Saturday). The Bulldogs are familiar with all three teams, and hosted Fairfield and Marist on this same weekend a year ago; Yale was fairly dominant in both of those meetings, beating the former 7-0 and the latter 6-1. Still, with all three of Yale's opponents this weekend boasting a .500 record or better, the Elis will need to stay focused to find success. 

NJIT, the Bulldogs' first opponent on Saturday, holds an impressive 5-2 spring record and most recently cruised past Binghamton, 6-1. Leading the way at No. 1 singles for NJIT is junior Tomi Antoljak, who has earned a 9-4 record on the season; Yale's Andrew Heller will likely face him on Saturday in a highly anticipated match-up. NJIT's No. 6 player, Richard Rangga, has also been red-hot so far this spring and currently holds a perfect 7-0 singles record; however, he may find things difficult against Yale senior Fedor Andrienko, who boasts the best dual match singles record (8-1) on the team. Andrienko has also found success alongside captain Stefan Doehler in doubles, as the pair have been beaten just twice in their last 14 matches together. If lineups hold, Andrienko and Doehler will face NJIT's Jan Cimrman and Abdullah Fouad at the No. 1 position.

Marist, Yale's second opponent on Saturday, has played in only two matches this spring, earning victories over Colgate and Saint Peter's. Among Marist's top performers is senior Gianlucca Massa, who contributes at both No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles. Depending on how lineups work out, Massa will be looking to make up for a straight-set loss to Yale's Dylan King in the two sides' clash last year. Marist's No. 2 player Rudolf Kurz will have similar intentions after narrowly falling to Yale's Ziqi Wang 6-4, 7-5 in last year's matchup. Overall, Marist is a quality team across the board and should push the Elis to play their best. 

As Yale's final opponent on Sunday, Fairfield comes into the weekend with a 4-4 dual match record. As the Bulldogs have bested Fairfield in each of the last five seasons, the Stags will need something special to win on Yale's home courts; fortunately, they have the help of sophomore star Tyler Shibles, who has assumed the top singles spot and beat Army's Greg Shannon 6-0, 6-1 in his most recent outing. Shibles has also contributed at No. 2 doubles alongside teammate William Townsend Font; the pair will likely face a challenge in Yale's Nathan Brown and King, who have won three of their last four matches together.

As hosts of the weekend's event, the Elis will have a packed schedule, starting with a match against NJIT at noon on Saturday and followed by a match against Marist at 3:00 p.m on the same day. Yale will conclude the weekend by taking on Fairfield at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. All matches will be played indoors at Yale's Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center and can be watched live on the Ivy League Network website. 

Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity