New Captain Looks to Learn from Past, Build for Future
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Earlier this May, the Yale men's tennis team gathered to elect its captain for the 2017-18 season. The team members ultimately decided on junior Stefan Doehler to lead them next year. Doehler, who hails from Tustin, Calif., made an immediate impact for the Bulldogs in his freshman year by earning awards for ITA Northeast Region Rookie of the Year and All-Ivy First Team doubles. He also received the team's George A. Phelps '95 Memorial award, which recognizes the player who has made the greatest improvement over the course of the season. As the newest captain of a relatively young squad, the rising senior will set high expectations for next season as the Elis work to secure a top place finish in the Ivy League.
Doehler had the following to say about his captaincy: "It is an incredible honor to be elected captain of the Yale Men's Tennis team. The captains before me, Tyler [Lu], Jason [Brown] and Zach [Krumholz] as well as all the upperclassmen I have had the pleasure of playing alongside, have taught me a tremendous amount about leadership and camaraderie. I am deeply excited to pass down these lessons to the underclassmen in the upcoming year and look forward to leading the team with my fellow seniors."
Doehler came to Yale as one of the country's top five-star recruits, ranking as high as No. 7 in the California and No. 32 nationally on tennisrecruiting.net. During his junior career, he earned All-American recognition, participated in the Pacific Cup, and won singles and doubles titles at the Irvine Nationals. In addition to these accolades, Doehler also served as co-captain of his high school team both junior and senior year, ultimately leading them to a league title in his final year.
Even considering such an impressive junior resumé, Doehler transcended expectations once he arrived on campus. In his freshman year, Doehler began the season with a 7-2 singles record, including four wins at the USTA/ITA Northeast Regional Championships. His strong performance in the fall earned him a starting singles position in the spring, and he eventually rose to start at the No. 3 spot by the end of the year. He also started at No. 1 doubles with classmate Fedor Andrienko; the pair combined for a 16-6 record together en route to a No. 59 national ranking and selection to the All-Ivy First Team. Doehler would build on these achievements in his sophomore year by overcoming an injury early in the season to post a team-best 5-1 singles record in Ivy League play, including a highlight three-set victory over Columbia's Richard Pham.
Doehler continued to serve as the model of consistency this past season, where he notched a 12-7 spring singles record at the No. 3 and No. 4 singles positions; this included a straight-set victory over Filip Bergevi of California (the No. 8-ranked team in the country). He also combined with Alex Hagermoser in doubles for the majority of the spring season at the No. 1 spot.
With key contributors Hagermoser, Tyler Lu, Photos Photiades and James Ratchford departing this summer, Doehler and fellow rising seniors Andrienko and Ziqi Wang will have a significant task ahead of them. As the results of this past year indicate, however, the current Yale squad boasts enough talent to contend with top-10 teams in the nation; steady senior leadership will be essential if the Elis want to take the next step and secure a top-place finish in the Ivy League next season.
Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity