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St. John’s Rallies to Edge Yale 4-3

Marc Powers. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Marc Powers. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Red Storm Wins Final Three Singles Matches to Finish

NEW HAVEN, Conn. –The last time the Yale men's tennis team played St. John's, in the ECAC Indoor Team Championship in February, St. John's won 5-2. That included a win in doubles, and three of the Red Storm's four wins in singles came in straight sets. Yale made things much closer the second time around Sunday afternoon at Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, but St. John's won three three-set singles matches to rally for a 4-3 victory.

Yale (7-7, 0-0 Ivy League) has now had eight of its matches this season decided by 4-3 scores, and the Bulldogs are 4-4 in those matches. The Bulldogs started Sunday by winning the doubles point, including 8-2 victories at No. 2 and No. 3. Sophomore Marc Powers then quickly closed out a 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 1. But St. John's got a straight-set win at No. 6, and as that match ended the Red Storm also had won the first set in three other matches still out on the courts.

Senior Jordan Abergel had dropped the first set to Mischa Koran at No. 5, but began turning things around with a drop shot to seal a 6-4 win in the second set. He then went up a break 2-1 in the third set and never looked back, finishing with a 6-2 victory that put Yale up 3-1.

At that point the three matches left were all in the third set and were being played side-by-side on the Y, A and L courts at Cullman-Heyman, with vocal supporters of each team adding to the drama. At No. 3, Michael Lampa rallied past sophomore John Huang after dropping the first set. He broke Huang's serve to go up 5-4 in the third, then overcame a 30-0 deficit and held serve for the 6-4 win.

The Red Storm tied things up with a win at No. 4. After winning the second set 6-4 to stave off the loss, Erik Blumenkranz held serve to get within 5-4 in the third set. He was able to deny one match point in the next game, but not the next -- Gustav Kallen came away with the 6-4 win.

That left the match between sophomore Daniel Hoffman and Milo Hauk at No. 2 to settle things. Hoffman had posted a 7-5 win in the second set after dropping the first 7-6. Hauk then broke Hoffman to go up 6-5 in the third. Hoffman was a point away from breaking Hauk right back, but Hauk settled down to win four straight points for the 7-5 win that sealed the Red Storm's victory.

St. John's (9-6, 0-1 Big East) had lost four in a row heading into Sunday.

Yale hosts Sacred Heart Tuesday at 3 p.m. in the Bulldogs' last tune-up before Ivy League play. 

No. 1 Hauk/Kallen (SJ) def. Hoffman/Powers (Y) 8-4
No. 2 Blumenkranz/Samaha (Y) def. Bojic/Najfeld (SJ) 8-2
No. 3 Bennett/Huang (Y) def. Honig/Koran (SJ) 8-2

No. 1 Powers (Y) def. Honig (SJ) 6-0, 6-2
No. 2 Hauk (SJ) def. Hoffman (Y) 7-6, 5-7, 7-5
No. 3 Lampa (SJ) def. Huang (Y) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
No. 4 Kallen (SJ) def. Blumenkranz (Y) 7-5, 4-6, 6-4
No. 5 Abergel (Y) def. Koran (SJ) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
No. 6 Najfeld (SJ) def. Bennett (Y) 6-3, 6-2

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity