Yale Freshmen Doehler, Wang Net Victories in Hard Fought 5-2 Loss to Utes
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The Yale men's tennis team concluded its trip to California with a match against No. 72 Utah on Thursday at the Barnes Tennis Center, marking one of the few times this season the team has come up against a nationally ranked opponent. Heading into Thursday's match off the heels of a tight 4-3 victory over a strong Portland squad, the Bulldogs were looking to notch another statement victory against a similarly tough team in the 9 – 6 Utes. Due to injury issues and strong play from Utah, however, the Elis fell short in a match that featured several competitive three set singles matches.
Utah took the initiative from the outset with its No. 1 doubles team of Cedric Willems and Matt Cowley (9-3 on the season) proving too experienced for Yale's freshman duo Fedor Andrienko and Stefan Doehler. Although the Elis bounced back at No. 3 doubles with a strong 6-3 performance by senior Daniel Faierman and sophomore Photos Photiades, Utah's No. 2 doubles team responded quickly with a decisive 6-2 victory to take a one point lead into the singles round.
Health issues emerged as an unfortunate storyline in the singles round. First, Yale's No. 2 singles player Martin Svenning, who would have liked to continue his recent form (4-1 in last five matches), was forced to retire in the second set against Utah's Parker McGuiness; and at No. 3 singles, Utah's Freddie McGeehan also retired after Doehler established a 7-5, 3-0 lead. The remaining matches, however, were contested to the finish. At the lower end of the bulldogs' singles lineup, Faierman and sophomore Alex Hagermoser battled against tough competition, with Faierman dropping a 6-2 third set and Hagermoser losing 6-4, 6-3. Although Yale had already conceded four points on the day, freshman Ziqi Wang persevered and put the Elis' young talent on display yet again with an impressive 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 comeback win in the No. 4 singles position. What was a long day finally came to an end with Utah's Willems posting a three set victory over Yale's Tyler Lu at No. 1 singles.
Although the bulldogs posted mixed results in California with a 1 – 2 record, they return having gained valuable experience against nationally ranked teams and now know they can match such competition blow-for-blow. This mindset is especially important considering the Ivy League season begins soon, on Apr. 4.
Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity
No. 72 Utah 5, Yale 2 Singles 1. Cedric Willems (UTAH) def. Tyler Lu (YALE), 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 2. Parker McGuiness (UTAH) def. Martin Svenning (YALE), 6-4, 3-0 ret. 3. Stefan Doehler (YALE) def. Freddie McGeehan (UTAH), 7-5, 3-0 ret. 4. Ziqi Wang (YALE) def. Matt Cowley (UTAH), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 5. Santiago Sierra (UTAH) def. Daniel Faierman (YALE), 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 6. Johan Jonhagen (UTAH) def. Alex Hagermoser (YALE), 6-4, 6-3 Order of Finish: 2,3,6,5,4,1 Doubles 1. Willems/Cowley (UTAH) def. Fredor Andrienko/Doehler (YALE), 6-3 2. McGuiness/Jamey Swiggart (UTAH) def. Lu/Hagermoser (YALE), 6-2 3. Faierman/Photos Photiades (YALE) def. Jonhagen/Sierra (UTAH), 6-3 Order of Finish: 1,3,2