Feb. 11, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale will travel to Cambridge and compete against the other seven Ivy League schools and two nonconference schools at the ECAC Championships this weekend. The Bulldogs will be the No. 6 seed in the tournament.
The Bulldogs (3-0) will open the ECAC Championships with a match against No. 3 seed Brown at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
Also participating this weekend will be No. 1 seed Harvard, No. 2 seed Colubmia, No. 4 seed Penn, No. 5 seed Cornell, No. 7 seed Princeton, No. 8 seed St. John's, No. 9 seed Dartmouth, and No. 10 seed Boston College.
While the matches against Ivy League schools will not count toward Yale's Ivy League record, the tournament will be an important measuring stick for the Bulldogs, said Alex Dorato, the Cary Leeds Head Coach of Men's Tennis.
"This will be a good early season test to see how we stack up in the Ivy League," Dorato said. "As has been the case over the past few years, very little separates the 8 [Ivy League] teams. After this weekend we'll know what we need to work on to make a run at the title in April. Regardless of how we do this weekend I know that on any given day we can beat anyone. I'd like nothing more than to do very well this weekend and send a message to the rest of the league that we are the team to beat."
Yale's 2009 schedule includes a trip to the west coast during spring break. During this trip, the Bulldogs will face three ranked teams. Yale will battle No. 62 UC Santa Barbara, No. 63 UC Irvine, and No. 66 Utah. Also on their schedule, the Bulldogs will face No. 69 Furman and No. 48 Harvard.
Nine Returning Players
Nine players return from last year's squad, led by senior captain Jeff Dawson. Dawson had an impressive fall, advancing to the semifinals at the ITA Northeast Regional Championships at Cullman-Heyman. His younger brother, junior Connor Dawson, added to the family's list of accomplishments by winning the Connecticut State Championship in singles and doubles (with sophomore Calvin Bennett).
Also returning for Yale is senior Michael Caldwell. As a sophomore, Caldwell went 6-1 in Ivy League play at No. 2 singles and earned First Team All-Ivy. Last season, Caldwell split time between No. 1 and No. 2 singles and earned Second Team All-Ivy.
Two New Additions
The Bulldogs have added freshman Joel Samaha and freshman Erik Blumenkranz to the nine returning players from last season. From Tampa, Fla., the 6'6" Samaha will be an instant contributor to the Bulldogs this spring. Blumenkranz, the Portola Valley, Calif. native, also will be play a big role in Yale's spring season this year.
Report Filed by Steven Horn '10, Yale Sports Publicity