March 30, 2012

Bulldogs Return to Cullman-Heyman on Four-Match Winning Streak

Elis Play St. John's in Last Non-Ivy Match

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Six days after storming to a 3-0 record at the Army Tournament, the Yale men's tennis team hosts No. 58 St. John's at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Yale will look to extend its undefeated record at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center (5-0) as it plays its last non-league match of the regular season before Ivy League play commences a week from this Saturday. 

With last weekend's trio of wins at West Point, the Bulldogs improved their overall season record to 11-5. In addition to their 5-0 record at home, they are now 6-5 on the road. The Elis go into Saturday's match against St. John's on a solid four-match winning streak, which is their longest match winning streak since their perfect 4-0 start to the regular season.

The Bulldogs have dominated their opponents in doubles play recently, having won the doubles point in eight of their last nine matches, losing it only to No. 8 Stanford. At No. 1 doubles, juniors Daniel Hoffman and Marc Powers are 11-2 on the season, and are riding a three-match winning streak, having won all three matches last weekend at the Army Tournament. They surrendered only 10 games the entire weekend. The No. 3 doubles team followed suit, as sophomore Patrick Chase and junior John Huang also went 3-0 last weekend and only surrendered 10 total games.

Yale's No. 1 singles player, Powers, comes into this week ranked No. 118 in the national rankings, having gone 2-1 last weekend to improve his season record to 7-5. Hoffman brings a nine-match winning streak into Saturday's match, with his last loss coming against Columbia at the ECAC Indoor Championship in mid-February. Huang is on a roll as well, having won eight of his last nine matches, including all three matches last weekend. He has won the last eight sets he has played. Freshman Zachary Krumholz only dropped one set en route to a perfect 3-0 record last weekend and now brings a seven-match winning streak at the No. 6 spot into the upcoming match. Sophomore Kyle Dawson also went 3-0 at West Point with the loss of only one set. Senior captain Erik Blumenkranz's win over Army ensured that the Bulldogs' six singles players are all riding, at the very least, a one-match winning streak going into the home match against St. John's.   

The last time the Bulldogs played at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, they completed a trio of wins at the Yale Round Robin, defeating Fairleigh Dickinson, Marist and Stony Brook all by the same score, 6-1. During that weekend, Dawson, Hoffman, Huang and senior Joel Samaha all went undefeated. In fact, all four of these players are undefeated at home for the entire season, with Dawson, Hoffman and Huang all having yet to drop a set when playing at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. The Bulldogs have also won the doubles point each time they have played at home this season.

No. 58 St. John's (12-5, 1-0 Big East) is currently on a two-match winning streak, but has lost three of its last six matches. Like the Bulldogs, the Red Storm has dominated home matches (8-1), but has a less dominant record on the road (4-4). This season, the Red Storm has a 4-3 record against Ivy League opponents. Last season, St. John's went 17-8 and finished in fourth place in the Big East conference. These 17 wins included two wins over Yale. The second match last season between the Bulldogs and the Red Storm, however, was close (4-3) and came down to the No. 2 singles match, in which Hoffman lost 5-7 in the third set.

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity

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