February 16, 2013

Yale Upsets No. 61 Brown at ECAC Championship

Hoffman, Huang and Powers Lift Elis Past Bears

ITHACA, N.Y. – Only 12 hours after a tough loss to No. 47 Harvard, the Yale men's tennis team rebounded on Saturday with a 4-3 upset over No. 61 Brown at the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division I Indoor Team Championship.  In a reversal of Friday's fortunes against the Crimson, the Bulldogs backed up some clutch play in doubles with strong performances in singles at Cornell's Reis Tennis Center to defeat the fifth-seeded Bears. 

Saturday's victory is the second 4-3 triumph of the season for Yale (5-2), the tournament's No. 8 seed.  Much like the Bulldogs' first 4-3 win, which was against Alabama-Birmingham, the squad's seniors relied on their wealth of experience to lead their teammates to the finish line.

The fight for the doubles point was itself a highly competitive affair, and the difference that put the Elis on top turned out to be just a couple points.  At No. 1 doubles, the No. 39 senior duo of captain Daniel Hoffman and Marc Powers halted a two-match losing slide with an 8-4 win over Jacob Laser and Michael Riechmann.  Brown bounced back, however when Brandon Burke and William Spector defeated Yale's No. 2 team of junior Patrick Chase and senior John Huang 8-5.  The doubles point came down to the match at the No. 3 position, which senior Zachary Dean and sophomore Matt Saiontz narrowly edged out in a tiebreaker, 8-7(5).

Buoyed by this exciting finish, the Elis proceeded to match the Bears stroke for stroke in singles, which was enough given that they had secured the doubles point.  Yale's top three seniors, all in their fourth and final seasons as Bulldogs, turned in veteran performances.  At No. 1 singles, Huang eased past Riechmann, 6-3, 6-2.  Powers defeated Soufiane Azargui with the loss of only one game to improve his spring season record to 6-1.  Hoffman also posted his sixth win of the spring with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Burke.

Brown (3-5) will face No. 59 Dartmouth in the seventh place match on Sunday.

Yale, meanwhile, will get the chance to record a fifth place finish at the ECAC Championship when it takes on No. 7 seed George Washington on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. at Cornell's Reis Tennis Center.     

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity 

Singles

1. John Huang (Yale) def. Michael Riechmann (Brown), 6-3, 6-2

2. Marc Powers (Yale) def. Soufiane Azargui (Brown), 6-0, 6-1

3. Daniel Hoffman (Yale) def. Brandon Burke (Brown), 6-4, 6-4

4. William Spector (Brown) def. Jason Brown (Yale), 6-1 (Ret)

5. Sam Fife (Brown) def. Martin Svenning (Yale), 6-2, 6-4

6. Mike Hill (Brown) def. Zachary Dean (Yale), 6-3, 6-4

Doubles

1. Hoffman/Powers (Yale) def. Jacob Laser/Riechmann (Brown), 8-4

2. Burke/Spector (Brown) def. Patrick Chase/Huang (Yale), 8-5

3. Dean/Matt Saiontz (Yale) def. Azargui/Fife (Brown), 8-7(5)