April 15, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No. 64 Yale will look to improve upon its 2-2 Ivy League record when it travels to Hanover to face Dartmouth Friday and hosts Harvard on Sunday.
Last weekend, Yale dropped matches to Cornell and No. 56 Columbia on the road. The weekend before, Yale swept matches at home against Penn and Princeton. The Bulldogs won both matches 4-3 with the help of strong doubles play. Connor Dawson, Calvin Bennett, and Joel Samaha all won both their singles matches for the Princeton-Penn weekend.
Prior to that, the Bulldogs went 4-2 on the California trip to earn its first national ranking of the season. Yale defeated then No. 64 UC Irvine and current No. 66 Nevada on the trip. Both of the Bulldogs' losses in the Golden State came at the hands of ranked opponents: No. 54 Pacific and No. 62 Utah.
With Yale only one match back in the loss column of Columbia and Brown, and a home match against Brown coming up Wednesday, the Bulldogs could still win a share of the Ivy League Title if they win out. Yale would need Columbia to lose one of its two matches this weekend against Penn and Princeton.
Last season, the Bulldogs split their matches against Harvard and Dartmouth. At Harvard, Yale dropped a 5-2 decision. The Bulldogs won 4-3 over Dartmouth at home.
Yale's 2009 schedule includes a trip to the west coast during spring break. During this trip, the Bulldogs will face three ranked teams. Yale battled No. 62 UC Santa Barbara, No. 63 UC Irvine, and No. 66 Utah. Also on their schedule, the Bulldogs will face No. 69 Furman and No. 48 Harvard.
Nine Returning Players
Nine players return from last year's squad, led by senior captain Jeff Dawson. Dawson had an impressive fall, advancing to the semifinals at the ITA Northeast Regional Championships at Cullman-Heyman. His younger brother, junior Connor Dawson, added to the family's list of accomplishments by winning the Connecticut State Championship in singles and doubles (with sophomore Calvin Bennett).
Also returning for Yale is senior Michael Caldwell. As a sophomore, Caldwell went 6-1 in Ivy League play at No. 2 singles and earned First Team All-Ivy. Last season, Caldwell split time between No. 1 and No. 2 singles and earned Second Team All-Ivy. Sophomore Jordan Abergel, sophomore Ryan Berman, senior Josh Lederman, senior Tom Santoro, and junior Matt Schimmel are also returning this season for Yale.
Two New Additions
The Bulldogs have added freshman Joel Samaha and freshman Erik Blumenkranz to the nine returning players from last season. From Tampa, Fla., the 6'6" Samaha will be an instant contributor to the Bulldogs this spring. Blumenkranz, the Portola Valley, Calif. native, also will be play a big role in Yale's spring season this year.
Report Filed by Steven Horn '10, Yale Sports Publicity