New Challenges Await No. 59 Yale in Second Half of Season

Kyle Dawson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kyle Dawson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Full Slate of Matches on Tap Ahead of Ivy League Stretch in April

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After a busy two-month period in the fall during which members of the Yale men's tennis team competed in five different tournaments, the regular season is about to get underway, and the Bulldogs are preparing hard to make their mark.  When the Elis were last on court, they put on an impressive display against their rivals at the Connecticut State Championships.  They will look to replicate this form in the coming months, as they are set to square off against 15 different schools between January and late March before embarking on another quest to claim the Ivy League title in April.  Yale begins the season ranked No. 59 in the nation.

While the Yale squad of the 2012-13 season put together a commendable 18-6 record, three of those six losses came in Ivy League play, so this year's team will be aiming to improve that win-loss mark against its fellow Ancient Eight schools.  Yale is one of five Ivy League squads that begins the season with a national ranking.  Harvard is ranked No. 27, and Columbia, Cornell and Princeton follow at No's. 42, 53 and 54, respectively.  Another standout statistic from Yale's 2012-13 season was a 10-2 record at home.  This year, 10 out of Yale's 15 pre-Ivy League matches will be played on the Elis' home courts.  The five away matches will involve two separate out-of-state trips to Virginia and North Carolina.  In April, the Bulldogs will play four conference matches on the road, and three at home.  Wherever they play, however, the individual performances of the squad's veterans and rookies alike will be crucial, a testament to the team's depth. 

Captain Kyle Dawson will be at the helm of the Bulldogs' forthcoming efforts, along with classmates Patrick Chase and Tommy Ratchford All three seniors have made unique contributions to the team during their time at Yale, and all would like nothing more than to lead their teammates to the Ivy League title, a prize that has been thus far elusive to the Class of 2014.  Dawson started off his senior year well, reaching the consolation final of the competitive Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational back in September.  Ratchford picked up wins in both singles and doubles throughout the fall stretch.  Meanwhile, Chase has time and again proven to be an exceptionally dependable doubles player during his Yale career.  He will play a crucial role this season, as the doubles point is an important factor in the outcome of a team match.

Offering its full support towards the Elis' cause will be a solid junior class made up of Daniel Faierman, Zachary Krumholz and Matt Saiontz.  Faierman enjoyed a noteworthy campaign at the Northeast Regionals, qualifying for the main draw and then advancing to the third round.  Krumholz reached the singles final of the Connecticut State Championships in October.  Last season, Saiontz was a constant in the doubles lineup, often playing alongside Martin Svenning, and he will aim to be healthy for match play in the months ahead.

While they exhibit a sharp contrast in styles, sophomores Svenning and Jason Brown are both crafty players who know how to win tennis matches.  Brown scored pivotal wins at the West Point Fall Quad and reached the quarterfinal round of the Connecticut State Championships.  Svenning likewise made it to the quarterfinals of the Connecticut State Championships after overcoming a mid-season injury.  He also posted wins at the Northeast Regionals.  Both sophomores will look to draw upon their freshman year experiences to record successful spring campaigns. 

Rounding out the Yale roster is a very promising quartet of freshmen: Alex Hagermoser, Tyler Lu, Photos Photiades and James Ratchford.  Hagermoser, Lu and Photiades were standout players in the fall.  Hagermoser reached the semifinals of three out of four events—the Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational, the Ivy Plus Invitational and the Connecticut State Championships—and the second round of the Northeast Regionals (after qualifying for the main draw).  He also went undefeated in singles at the West Point Fall Quad.  Lu likewise went undefeated in singles at West Point, but even more impressively, he claimed titles at the Ivy Plus Invitational and the Connecticut State Championships.  Both Hagermoser and Lu will aim to keep up this consistent play.  Lu also pulled double duty at the Connecticut State Championships, claiming the doubles crown alongside Photiades.  In addition to this doubles triumph, Photiades, for his part, defeated two starters from last year's Dartmouth team in his first two matches for the Bulldogs.  He also recently earned a spot on the Cyprus Davis Cup Team.

Alex Dorato, Cary Leeds Head Coach of Men's Tennis, continues his 22nd season at the helm of the Elis' squad.  Dorato is assisted by Christian Appleman.

All in all, an exciting season is in store for the Bulldogs, with several new opponents, such as East Tennessee, Georgetown and Central Florida, awaiting.  The Elis' first pair of matches will be on the road in Blacksburg, Va., where they will play a doubleheader against Davidson and Virginia Tech on Jan. 18 and 19.        

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity