No. 58 St. John’s Ends Yale’s Winning Streak, 4-3

John Huang. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
John Huang. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Sweep Doubles, Huang Remains Undefeated at Home

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In its last match before the start of the Ivy League season, the Yale men's tennis team nearly pulled off an upset against No. 58 St. John's Saturday afternoon at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. The match came down to the No. 2 singles spot, where a three-set victory gave St. John's a 4-3 win.

Yale (11-6), playing at home for the first time since early March, got off to the best possible start by sweeping the doubles matches.  The Bulldogs' No. 2 team of sophomore Patrick Chase and junior John Huang raced to a quick win, 8-2.  The other two doubles matches were much tighter affairs.  After a seesaw match, Yale's No. 1 team of juniors Daniel Hoffman and Marc Powers recovered from a break down to win 9-7 and secure the doubles point.  The No. 3 team of senior captain Erik Blumenkranz and freshman Daniel Faierman won 8-7 to complete the sweep.

In singles play, Huang, playing at No. 3, broke early in both sets to set up a fairly comfortable 6-4, 6-2 win.  With the win, Huang remains undefeated at home (6-0).  He has also won nine of his last 10 matches as well as the last 10 sets he has played.  The Bulldogs' No. 6 player, freshman Zachary Krumholz, broke his opponent Matty Najfeld in a long game at 5-5 in the first set and from there eased to a 7-5, 6-2 victory.

With three of Yale's other singles players falling in competitive matches, the overall score stood tied at 3-3 with only the No. 2 singles match between Hoffman and St. John's Milo Hauk yet to finish.  It was dèjá vu for both players, as their match also decided the winner when Yale and St. John's played for the second time last season.  After Hoffman won a close opening set in a tiebreaker, Hauk came back to win the second set.  After a tight third set with multiple breaks of serve, Hauk converted his second match point to dash the Bulldogs' hopes of an upset. 

The defeat gives Yale its first loss at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center this season (now 5-1 at home).  It also ends the Elis' four-match winning streak.  St. John's (15-5, 2-0 Big East) is now on a five-match winning streak and has a 5-3 record against Ivy League opponents.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs are using the near upset of a Big East school as motivation going into the Ivy League season. 

"They [St. John's] are as good as any Ivy team," said Alex Dorato, Yale's Cary Leeds Head Coach of Men's Tennis. 

Powers added, "We had a lot of chances in singles.  It was a solid match going into the Ivy League season."

The Bulldogs hope to get off to a good start in the Ivy League when they play at Penn (8-6) and Princeton (10-8) next weekend. 

Looking ahead to these matches, Powers said, "If we beat Penn and Princeton, that's going to be a boost psychologically [and] will set us up for the rest of the [Ivy] season."

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity

Position  Yale University  St. John's University  Winner  Score
 #1 Singles  #118 Marc Powers  #58 Vasko Mladenov  St. John's University  6-2, 7-5
 #2 Singles  Daniel Hoffman  Milo Hauk  St. John's University  6-7, 6-4, 6-4
 #3 Singles  John Huang  Ilija Vucic  Yale University  6-4, 6-2
 #4 Singles  Erik Blumenkranz  Stefan Bojic  St. John's University  6-2, 6-3
 #5 Singles  Kyle Dawson  Michael Lampa  St. John's University  6-1, 7-5
 #6 Singles  Zach Krumholz  Matty Najfeld  Yale University  7-5, 6-2
 #1 Doubles  #67Daniel Hoffman
 Marc Powers
 #75 Milo Hauk
 Ilija Vucic
 Yale University  9-7
 #2 Doubles  John Huang
 Patrick Chase
 Vasko Mladenov
 Matty Najfeld
 Yale University  8-2
 #3 Doubles  Erik Blumenkranz
 Daniel Faierman
 Stefan Bojic
 Valentin Mihai
 Yale University  8-7