Aug. 24, 2006
The Bulldogs look to build off last year's 3rd place Ivy League finish to make another run at the title. The Elis return four of their top six singles starters, and have three talented freshmen who will vie with four other returning team members to fill the two open positions.
Leading the charge of returning players will be senior captain Brandon Wai who finished last season ranked #74 in the nation. Brandon also finished ranked #1 in the Northeast Region, was the Ivy League's singles representative at the NCAA Championships, was selected First-Team All-Ivy Singles, was the Ivy League Player of the Year, and won the Northeast Regional Player to Watch Award. The three other returning singles starters for Yale include junior Rory Green, and sophomores Jeff Dawson and Michael Caldwell. All three are coming off of very strong performances from last season. Rory Green went 19-9 playing in the #5/6 position. Jeff Dawson was 18-13 and played in the #3 slot. Caldwell played right behind Dawson and went 18-18. All three players sported identical winning records within the Ivy League at 4-3. Four retuning players will be gunning for a position in the starting line-up; they include senior Chris Lawler, junior Joe Vellanikaran, and sophomores Josh Lederman and Tom Santoro.
Three freshmen will add tremendous depth to the squad. Vying for their spot in the starting line-up will be Hyatt Bailey (former #1 junior in Hawaii), Connor Dawson (has been ranked among the top 50 nationally in the 18 & under division this year), and Matt Schimmel (top 10 in Florida).
At one point last season seven of the eight Ivy teams were in the national rankings at the same time, a testament to the unprecedented depth of the league. This year the league could be even deeper, and once again the league will be wide open. Look for Brown, Harvard, and Penn to be Yale's toughest competition. Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Princeton will also be very dangerous, especially with all but Princeton being contested on the road. As last year, the Ivy League Champion might not be determined until the final weekend of play.